The Ongoing Decline in Corporate Accounting Honesty

From finance professor Jialan Wang comes this really interesting analysis: Benford’s Law and the Decreasing Reliability of Accounting Data for US Firms.

Basically, by looking at the distribution of leading numerals in sets of numbers, you can often spot cases of people “cooking the books”. People engaged in fraudulent accounting practices tend to make up randomish-looking numbers. But real measurements of phenomena that span orders of magnitude tend to follow a distinctly non-randomish pattern called Benford’s Law, with leading 1′s being more common than 2′s, which are more common than 3′s, and so on.

What Prof. Wang did was to look at historical accounting data for big US companies and analyze the data’s conformity with Benford’s Law. The whole blog post is really interesting, but one of the most interesting things she found was this: Deviation from Benford’s Law, though initially small, has grown dramatically over the last 40 years, reaching record levels in 2009:

Her conclusion:

While these time series don’t prove anything decisively, deviations from Benford’s law are compellingly correlated with known financial crises, bubbles, and fraud waves. And overall, the picture looks grim. Accounting data seem to be less and less related to the natural data-generating process that governs everything from rivers to molecules to cities. Since these data form the basis of most of our research in finance, Benford’s law casts serious doubt on the reliability of our results. And it’s just one more reason for investors to beware.

Update: You ask, I deliver. Here’s Wang’s chart, annotated to indicate which party occupied the White House during the years in question:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Reagan, with his hostility to government regulation, oversaw dramatic increases in deviation from Benford. The famously corrupt Nixon did as well. But so did Clinton.

The Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and elder-Bush administrations were all pretty undramatic, with flat or slightly upward trends in Benford deviation.

Bush the younger oversaw a dramatic up, down, and up again pattern of deviation, ending significantly higher than he started.

Obama, at least so far, looks a lot like Gerald Ford in terms of having presided over a rapid drop in Benford deviation (albeit one dwarfed by the overall upward trend).

Ultimately, I think these numbers probably have more to do with the larger business climate than with which party holds the White House. Boom times and bubbles tend to produce greater deviations, as get-rich-quick cowboys make their own rules and ride the wave upward. Times of greater regulatory concern (like the post-Watergate Ford administration, the 2002 enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley under George W. Bush, and Obama’s time since the 2008 financial meltdown) see the deviations come back down a bit.

But the overall trend for the last 50 years has been up, pretty much regardless of which party was in power.

44 Responses to “The Ongoing Decline in Corporate Accounting Honesty”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    Quick! Somebody overlay a shading of Republican administrations over this chart! ;-)

  2. shcb Says:

    Wondering if anyone else read the comments.

  3. NorthernLite Says:

    I happened to catch a little bit of the debate last night. Pretty much on par…

    -they boo soldiers

    -they cheer for death

    -they cheer for letting citizens die

    -they blame the jobless for being unemployed

    -And Bachman is pissed that Obama went into Libya and Africa

  4. enkidu Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O_Ao9w1u7c

    Economic justice. Shared sacrifice. Reason, compromise and cooperation over the current state of affairs.

    (here comes the hurf durf ‘politics of envy!’ ‘socialism!’ blah blah blah)

  5. knarlyknight Says:

    Enk, that’s a reasonable advertisement. Sounds like those changes are well within the powers of elected representatives.

    However, the resistance to reasonable people by the powers that be reminds me of tyranny: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/19/naomi-wolf-arrest-occupy-wall-street

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RGRXCgMdz9A

  7. NorthernLite Says:

    Hilarious!

    “Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington – Patriot; George Soros – Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap,” the soldier said. “Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander’s orders.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/bill-oreilly-book-burned-_n_1021465.html

  8. enkidu Says:

    meh, I think OReilly is a bullying pinhead, but book burning isn’t a great idea.
    Using them as a source of heat and light is probably a net gain, but burning even execrable books is a step towards more and more extreme behavior. Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind. Nazi book burnings. The Inquisition.

    Maybe using them as toilet paper would have been better utility? You couldn’t feed em to goats: too full of toxic right wing memes and nonsense.

    Maybe one copy for all of Afghanistan, one for Pakistan…

    ps – one more Great Leader/Tyrant scratched… buh bye Momar Gadafi.

    So wwnjs, which has done more for our standing in the rest of the world, invading another country based on a bunch of trumped up lies, or standing firm behind people powered movements all over the planet? Note that we also scratched ace Bad Guy™ Supremo Osama binShot-in-the-face. hmmm, book burning vs cheering on assassination, I leave you to reconcile those two things at your leisure.

  9. shcb Says:

    Oddly, this is one time I’m in general agreement with Wolfe, however the police are in a precarious, no win situation when it come to protecting the lives and property of the citizenry (including elected officials) and the right of the people to peacefully protest. The time and distance window gets incredibly small and the decision making of the protectors shrinks exponentially as the mob gets closer to those the police are charged to protect as the protestors are allowed to get closer to the citizenry. Then the only recourse the police or the citizenry has is to skip several layers of stepping up the violence. Then the police are charged with overreacting. It’s a difficult balancing act. I think Wolfe is right but in walking right up to where the people the protestors are protesting wit an angry mob behind her is she willing to take responsibility for one of them getting shot and killed if they get out of control and someone feels they’re life is in danger? Are the protestors willing to be imprisoned or worse if they get out of hand?

    As far as the advertisement goes. I want some thing too. 1) I want people of all races and creeds to be protected from violence. 2) I want every child to get the best education available. 3) I want all Americans to be involved as a player in the dream of building America. 4) I want every American that wants a job to have a good one. 5) And finally I want teachers to be paid equal to their counterparts in the private sector.

    All those platitudes seem wonderful don’t they? But as I’ve been asking of the park people how do they want to achieve those goals?

    I’ll answer to my platitudes.

    1) liberalize concealed carry laws 2) vouchers 3) make the lower 50% pay their fair share of federal income taxes, end the EITC 4) lessen environmental restrictions, reduce or eliminate corporate taxes, reduce capital gains taxes and 5) drastically reduce or eliminate current pension plans, go to a merit based pay schedule (effectively busting the teachers union)

    Don’t waste your time picking apart my solutions, that isn’t the point, the point is my platitudes are as reasonable as the protestors on their face. The problem is my solutions are unreasonable given your priorities and vision, just as the park people’s solutions are unreasonable to me based on my vision and priorities.

  10. NorthernLite Says:

    I hear ya, but I think sending a bunch of politically-charged books to troops stationed in a foreign outpost with no room for anything other than ammunition was a really stupid idea and the books deserved to be burned. I mean these aren’t educational books we’re talking about. But I really like your toilet paper idea.

    Yeah Obama is def on a roll on the war front. OBL, Gadhafi numerous AQ leaders and all for chump change. And now he’s going after that sicko in Uganda.

    Don’t ever let anyone getting away with saying Liberal’s are wimps!

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    NL, Enk – Obama has done “well” in many ways following in Bush’s footsteps e.g. expanding executive powers to now include assassinating Americans. It is irksome that, the two of you especially, seem to have no problem with that and similar issues, as long as government first labels the accused as being al Qaeda leaders. Deferring to Glenn Greenwald:

    I wrote at length about the extreme dangers and lawlessness of allowing the Executive Branch the power to murder U.S. citizens far away from a battlefield (i.e., while they’re sleeping, at home, with their children, etc.) and with no due process of any kind. I won’t repeat those arguments — they’re here and here — but I do want to highlight how unbelievably Orwellian and tyrannical this is in light of these new articles today.

    No due process is accorded. No charges or trials are necessary. No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family). None of that.

    Instead, in Barack Obama’s America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens — and a death penalty imposed — is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone’s guilt as a Terrorist. He then dispatches his aides to run to America’s newspapers — cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which they’re granted — to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist. It is simply asserted that Awlaki has converted from a cleric who expresses anti-American views and advocates attacks on American military targets (advocacy which happens to be Constitutionally protected) to Actual Terrorist ”involved in plots.” These newspapers then print this Executive Verdict with no questioning, no opposition, no investigation, no refutation as to its truth. And the punishment is thus decreed: this American citizen will now be murdered by the CIA because Barack Obama has ordered that it be done. What kind of person could possibly justify this or think that this is a legitimate government power?

    The whole article is well worth due consideration:
    http://www.salon.com/2010/04/07/assassinations_2/

  12. shcb Says:

    Enky, surely you’re smart enough to realize that different situations require different solutions. I have a question, do you think the two despots would be dead now if we would not have gone into the two countries we did and stayed there a decade?

    Another tidbit for you folks that line to think Bush could do no right and Obama walks on water. I had a marine special ops on my deck a few weeks before Obama said we were going to deploy “advisers” to Uganda, he had just gotten back from “Africa” would say more, gave me a look like he could kill be if I pressed more. He was my daughter’s guest so I shook his hand and said thanks (for not killing me?) I took it from his reaction he was in an area he wasn’t supposed to be in, way before and for a few months before it was official. I doubt anyone but Knarly will cry fowl.

    Knarly, I saw that article (or one like it a few weeks ago) thought it was the first time I had seen Greenwald was dissing his side, I wanted to see if JBC published it, no surprise.

  13. knarlyknight Says:

    Why would I cry fowl? There’re plenty of African countries with potential American involvement, he was likely just ashamed to admit being sent to some backwaters like Malawi to dig latrines and has just enough cunning to realize that if he remains vague and slightly threatening it attracts women like flies to chickenshit and also keeps their over-bearing fathers at bay. Either that or the look he gave you was caused by stomach gas.

    As for what’s fowl with special ops, I’d say that planting false flag bombs to kill civilians while blaming another party is fowl, but if he was spying / observing that’s fair game… assassinations or arming “rebels” requires a lot more information to make a call whether its fair game or not (information from regular folks who live there or impartial observers if there is such a thing, but not from the US military or CIA or mainstream media.)

  14. shcb Says:

    Yeah, that was probably it. You’ve never been around these people much have you?

  15. NorthernLite Says:

    You’re right, I have no problem with the killing of Awlaki and how it was done.

    In fact, I’d rather this “war on terror” stuff be carried out this way. I’ve advocated that for years. It should be fought in the shadows. Not by invading countries and spending trillions.

  16. shcb Says:

    That’s fine, but these special opps guys can’t operate without support, Even James Bond had support bases all over the world.

  17. shcb Says:

    btw, I said the soldier would say more, I obviously meant ” would say no more”

  18. shcb Says:

    One other thing to remember NL, you are seeing new technology fulfill your dreams, don’t fault the past administration for working with the technology and tactics needed at that time. UAVs were in there infancy. We can do more with fewer men on the ground, doesn’t mean that number is zero. We invaded Okinawa at the loss of thousands of men and many civilians that literally through themselves off cliffs so we could drop bombs on a target a few hundred miles away because that was the range of our fighters. That seems silly now. When I flew into Amsterdam we started our initial decent at about the range of fighters at the beginning of the war (just as we left the coast of England), think about that in just a few decades a routine flight is starting its decent, not starting or ending its flight at the same point

    The same still holds true with helicopters, even now they have limited range, but those limitations have been tempered some in the last decade with the advancement of UAVs, but not eliminated. We couldn’t have gotten Bin Laden without our invasion and persistence of and in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia was always our base but they proved unreliable allies after 911. We simply had to have a base closer than Diego Garcia.

    Imagine you are playing checkers with a child, that is the world view of people like Enky, they understand the game enough to know how to jump a chip, then you lure them into a situation where they jump one of yours and you take 2 of theirs, they have an epiphany and think they understand the game. In a short period of time they fully understand even how to notice a triple jump coming. Problem is the game is three dimensional chess. Now people like me understand chess and understand the rest of the world is playing several levels above us. Enky thinks he is the top shit.

  19. knarlyknight Says:

    Yes, shcb now you’re talking- multi-level chess is not too bad an analogy. “War on Terror” is the board currently on the table, “War for Oil” is the board just above that, “War for Power” slightly off to side underpinned by another board comprising the “Economic Battle”. And under the table we have another board containing the never ending “Espionage battle” – secret ops of hidden pieces or pieces draped in the wrong colour.

    There’s also a “PR Battle”, a “Diplomatic Battle (for power and influence)”, amoung others.

    Occasionally you see pieces jump from one level to the other – as in the false flags we occasionally hear about (draped pieces under the table attacking positions on other levels) and over longer time periods we might see a big shift in pieces from one board to another depending on the player’s priorities and strategy.

    Recently John Bolton (recent US ambassador to the United Nations), while attempting to make a move in the “PR Battle” during a Fox News interview, provided some insight into priorities and strategy across some different boards… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFbpKKOEnAE&feature=player_embedded#!

    So now after 8 years people like Bolton are willing to admit that the big middle east military campaigns were not to fight the “War on Terrorism” per se, but that the pieces were just using that board as a staging area for the real battlegroud: “The War for Oil”?

  20. shcb Says:

    Oil certainly was a major factor, but it wasn’t the only factor, was it THE factor? Depends on who you talk to and what their priorities are. But you see you are doing exactly what I’m talking about, you are having an ah ha!!! moment because you think Bolton’s remarks prove you were right, oil was the ONLY reason “see! told you so!”. But Bolton is just stating the obvious truth to anyone that can see past one or two moves, oil was a reason, killing thousands of Americans was another, wanting to kill many more was yet another.

    You are right though, all those levels and your examples are correct. One other thing, oil and resources have always been a reason for war, nothing new there.

  21. knarlyknight Says:

    LOL. “OIL CERTAINLY WAS A MAJOR FACTOR” !!!

    The only “aha moment” I’m having is one of wonder at the ridiculous & pathetic brazen chutzpah of people like you and those in the Bush administration.

    You and they have repeatedly & vehemently argued, despite obvious indications to the contrary, that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars were to fight terrorism and liberate the peoples and that the resources of the country were not a factor. Those who suggested otherwise were mercilessly mocked by Bush, his cronies and their obsequious simpleton followers such as yourself.

    Now you twerps are willing to admit that “oil was a factor” and you’ve just added another: revenge for “killing thousands of Americans.” Its insulting to the collective intelligence of society to attempt to fabricate the historical record about the reasons for recent wars. If Americans were smarter as a people this would be reflected in 2012 election results against any politicians who is likwise treating the public with such contempt.

  22. shcb Says:

    The wars were to fight terrorism, ensure the free flow of oil in the area, liberate people in the area (mainly to facilitate the other two issues, we were happy to let them kill each other as long as they didn’t kill us of stop selling us oil). When you hear the term “national security” or “our way of life” that includes the free flow of oil. If you are too naïve to understand that, well, sorry. Where they fall short of imperialism is we are happy to pay for the oil, we don’t want to take over countries to get the oil like Japan did in the WWII era.

    I don’t think the politicians were dishonest, we wanted to kill Arabs because they killed us, pretty simple, the oil is important but revenge and preempting them from repeating killing us was the primary goal. Oil was secondary, but important.

    We’ve been letting the people in Africa kill each other for decades without doing much about it until they started killing us and disrupting trade, there isn’t anything sinister here.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    Your arguments for revenge and access to oil sound just like the anti-war protesters in 2003.

    They pointed out that there are infinitely more effective and lower cost ways to fight terrorism than invading and blowing up countries; that the wars made no sense unless the real motives related to accessing the oil and such things as enriching the military procurement industry (at the cost of enormous human suffering.)

    Looks like you are finally admitting they were right all along.

  24. shcb Says:

    I disagreed with them then and now, the best way to fight the bad guys is to kill them.

    There may be better ways of fighting the root cause of terrorism but those take time. Giving the patient antibiotics to fight the infection is fine, but you need to first stop the bleeding in the gaping chest wound or the patient will bleed out before antibiotics can take effect, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the medication, just that there is a time and place for both.

    The best way to get rid of the bad guys is to kill them, it is so very permanent.

  25. knarlyknight Says:

    Simplistic drivel… killing a terrorist does not = invading a country.

    By your logic if your patient has a gaping, bleeding chest wound you would advocate operating on him and several other healthy bystanders; all the while telling everyone who will listen to you that you were doing it for the good of the neighborhood when the truth has much to do with the patient being a key supplier of your crack cocaine.

  26. shcb Says:

    Ha, ha, no, nothing that complicated, when the addict is pointing a gun at you, you may have to kill him, no matter what caused him to get to this point. You may be able to help his brother with kind words, but there is a time when it’s him or you. What you tend to do is spin what I just said to me wanting to somehow killing everone in the neighborhood.

  27. shcb Says:

    I think your point is that you despise collateral damage since by definition it affects the innocent. This is where priorities come into play, from our many conversations I think you are much more willing to give up much more to avoid collateral damage than I am. Of course I would rather there not be collateral damage, but I understand it is part of the game. I am not as adverse to collateral damage as long as it is my enemy’s people taking the brunt of it.

    I place blame on the people putting those innocents in danger, not those who inadvertently cause suffering to the innocents.

  28. knarlyknight Says:

    Talk about spin! First you talk about “stop the bleeding in the gaping chest wound” and now you talk of killing a threatening addict. Here’s a news flash: You are the addict, addicted to oil. You kill, or imprison & destroy anyone who you perceive as a threat to your supply of crack oil or to be a threat to your safety.

    The people you claim to be killing kill are those who you think are crazy and dangerous (the “terrorists”) and whoever is in the vicinity.

  29. shcb Says:

    No, you didn’t listen, I’m willing to buy the oil, I don’t want to kill the Brits for their oil in the North Sea, I don’t want to kill Mexicans for their oil, I want to kill Arabs because they want to kill us. If the Arabs want to live in peace like the Brits I’m fine with that.

  30. Smith Says:

    And extremist Arabs want to kill us because we have been killing their people (including the peaceful majority). It’s a vicious cycle being perpetuated by extremists on both sides. I suppose precision strikes on individual extremists is better than the previous broad, unqualified policy of “I want to kill Arabs because they want to kill us”, but it will still continue the cycle. It is too bad the lunatics have no regard for civilians.

  31. shcb Says:

    Except there aren’t extremists on both sides, the way we know this is to ask a simple question. If one sides stops killing the other, will the other side stop killing? In this case if we stop killing them they will continue to kill us, if they stop killing us, we will stop killing them.

  32. knarlyknight Says:

    Nice to hear you don’t have any intentions at this time to kill Brits and Mexicans for their oil. Presumably Canadians are on the no kill list too.

    You might want to revise your “I want to kill Arabs because they want to kill us” statement to account for Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 911 were Saudi Arabians and there were quite disturbing funding links from the hijackers back to official Saudi sources. (Hijacker nationality: 2-United Arab Emeriti, 1-Egyptian, 1-Lebanese, 15-Saudi Arabia.)

    In contrast, none of the hijackers were Iraqi and the WMD claims proved to be bogus. Prior to attacking Iraq there were essentially no terrorist there, the “terrorism” in that country arose, by your own earlier admission, after the “Mission Accomplished” speech when foreign jihadists came into the country to resist American troops.

  33. shcb Says:

    Sure Saudi Arabia is in the mix. You are still only looking at one isolated event though, 911 was certainly the most notable event that has taken us to war against Islam, but not the only event, so the head count of the 19 is notable but not the final word.

  34. knarlyknight Says:

    It seemed we had reached some agreement that there are many inter-related chess boards being played out on the world stage at any time.

    Then I posed the question whether “The War on Terror” board might be a staging ground for the real battleground of “The War for Oil”, as John Bolton seems to think the Iraqi war was about oil.

    You accepted that the “War for Oil” was one factor, but not THE factor, and re-confirmed that many things were at play, but that the main factor was to kill Arabs who were trying to kill you (i.e. “The War on Terrorism.”)

    I noted that protestors in 2003 rightfully argued there were far less expensive and far more effective ways to fight “The War on Terror” and that the invasion of Iraq only made sense if the “War for Oil” was the primary factor (as Bolton suggests now.) I stated my opinion that it was pathetic brazen chutzpah from wwnj’s and the Bush administration’s at the start of the war to deny that the Iraq invasion was a “War for Oil” when they are now admitting it was at least a major factor (or apparently, as per Bolton’s comments, the only one that is worth mentioning now.)

    From there we digressed into your “I want to kill Arabs because they want to kill me” and you put forth further comments about killing and collatoral damage.

    I understand your position: killing Arabs is good because it protects your family from them hurting you, and it’s just the way things are that Arabs sit on vast amounts of oil that America needs like a crack addict needs coke.

    It seems that the multi-dimensional chess board disappears from your view when killing Arabs (“The War on Terror”) becomes your primary focus. How other factors come into play, or whether they might be even more compelling to government lobbyists or their politicians, becomes something that you defensively, in a knee jerk fashion, simply dismiss.

    That dismissal is even though you had earlier admitted: “Problem is the game is three dimensional chess. Now people like me understand chess and understand the rest of the world is playing several levels above us.”

    Well, if the rest of the world is playing several levels above us shcb, then you are a bloody idiot to think that “The War on Terror” is the real battlefield. You were actually talking about yourself when you said “Enky thinks he is the top shit.”

    Reality check: Any terrorists threat from Iraq in 2002? Nope. Any WMD? Nope, those claims were all bogus. What was Iraq doing with its oil prior to 2003? Selling it under a oil for food program imposed by the United Nations. Who was working and developing the oil fields then? Primarily the Iraqis, the French and Chinese, with substantial $$$$$ production royalties going to Saddam’s regime. Now it is American and other Western International Companies producing & developing the oilfields and they pay a pittance in royalties to the Iraqis. In other words, America won that chess battle for Iraqi oil, for a strong military base in the region, and against the selling of Iraqi & OPEC oil in Euros.

    This remains contentious here because the Bush Admin broke the rules of multi-level chess to win that battle. They didn’t (or couldn’t) use their Special Ops pieces Board under the table to develop a home grown insurgency against Saddam, instead they loaded the sleepy “War on Terrorism” board with pieces. Then they dumped them all into what they called the Iraqi “War on Terror” battle board but it was mostly just the the Iraqi “War for Oil” battleboard. In other words, we were living in fictitious times and your country was sent to war for fictitious reasons.

    America is still positioning it’s chess pieces aggressively against Iran, and perhaps the economic board holds some explanation of the reason for that stance (or for Iran’s response); money is, after all, the motivating force behind most events: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_oil_bourse

    Moving forward, we see the Arab spring reaping great benefits & promising greater peace & prosperity. The players seem to be playing chess by the rules again, for now. (The results are strikingly good compared to the mass casualties and tens, hundreds or thousands of thousands of people killed as a result of the war in Iraq.) Was Libya attacked because Quadaffi is a Terrorist? No, of course not – he’s been a terrorist since at least 1969.

    There were other reasons, perhaps his overly aggressive position on this front brought forth the combined attacks against his forces on many of the other chess levels. As one example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN0aNsA9ALg (don’t miss the comment about Saddam at around the 2 minute mark.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN0aNsA9ALg

  35. knarlyknight Says:

    It seemed we had reached some agreement that there are many inter-related chess boards being played out on the world stage at any time.

    Then I posed the question whether “The War on Terror” board might be a staging ground for the real battleground of “The War for Oil”, as John Bolton seems to think the Iraqi war was about oil.

    You accepted that the “War for Oil” was one factor, but not THE factor, and re-confirmed that many things were at play, but that the main factor was to kill Arabs who were trying to kill you (i.e. “The War on Terrorism.”)

    I noted that protestors in 2003 rightfully argued there were far less expensive and far more effective ways to fight “The War on Terror” and that the invasion of Iraq only made sense if the “War for Oil” was the primary factor (as Bolton suggests now.) I stated my opinion that it was pathetic brazen chutzpah from wwnj’s and the Bush administration’s at the start of the war to deny that the Iraq invasion was a “War for Oil” when they are now admitting it was at least a major factor (or apparently, as per Bolton’s comments, the only one that is worth mentioning now.)

    From there we digressed into your “I want to kill Arabs because they want to kill me” and you put forth further comments about killing and collatoral damage.

    I understand your position: killing Arabs is good because it protects your family from them hurting you, and it’s just the way things are that Arabs sit on vast amounts of oil that America needs like a crack addict needs coke.

    It seems that the multi-dimensional chess board disappears from your view when killing Arabs (“The War on Terror”) becomes your primary focus. How other factors come into play, or whether they might be even more compelling to government lobbyists or their politicians, becomes something that you defensively, in a knee jerk fashion, simply dismiss.

    That dismissal is even though you had earlier admitted: “Problem is the game is three dimensional chess. Now people like me understand chess and understand the rest of the world is playing several levels above us.”

    Well, if the rest of the world is playing several levels above us shcb, then you are a bloody idiot to think that “The War on Terror” is the real battlefield. You were actually talking about yourself when you said “Enky thinks he is the top shit.”

    Reality check: Any terrorists threat from Iraq in 2002? Nope. Any WMD? Nope, those claims were all bogus. What was Iraq doing with its oil prior to 2003? Selling it under a oil for food program imposed by the United Nations. Who was working and developing the oil fields then? Primarily the Iraqis, the French and Chinese, with substantial $$$$$ production royalties going to Saddam’s regime. Now it is American and other Western International Companies producing & developing the oilfields and they pay a pittance in royalties to the Iraqis. In other words, America won that chess battle for Iraqi oil, for a strong military base in the region, and against the selling of Iraqi & OPEC oil in Euros.

    This remains contentious here because the Bush Admin broke the rules of multi-level chess to win that battle. They didn’t (or couldn’t) use their Special Ops pieces Board under the table to develop a home grown insurgency against Saddam, instead they loaded the sleepy “War on Terrorism” board with pieces. Then they dumped them all into what they called the Iraqi “War on Terror” battle board but it was mostly just the the Iraqi “War for Oil” battleboard. In other words, we were living in fictitious times and your country was sent to war for fictitious reasons.

    America is still positioning it’s chess pieces aggressively against Iran, and perhaps the economic board holds some explanation of the reason for that stance (or for Iran’s response); money is, after all, the motivating force behind most events: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_oil_bourse

    Moving forward, we see the Arab spring reaping great benefits & promising greater peace & prosperity. The players seem to be playing chess by the rules again, for now. (The results are strikingly good compared to the mass casualties and tens, hundreds or thousands of thousands of people killed as a result of the war in Iraq.) Was Libya attacked because Quadaffi is a Terrorist? No, of course not – he’s been a terrorist since at least 1969.

    There were other reasons, perhaps his overly aggressive position on this front brought forth the combined attacks against his forces on many of the other chess levels. As one example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN0aNsA9ALg (don’t miss the comment about Saddam at around the 2 minute mark.)

  36. shcb Says:

    “I noted that protestors in 2003 rightfully argued there were far less expensive and far more effective ways to fight” And I argued they were wrong in the short term, those ways to fight terrorism are only effective long term, so mostly reject that viewpoint.

    “It seems that the multi-dimensional chess board disappears from your view when killing Arabs (“The War on Terror”) becomes your primary focus.” Why? Even with a singular objective still has to consider all the facets of the situation.

    “How other factors come into play, or whether they might be even more compelling to government lobbyists or their politicians, becomes something that you defensively, in a knee jerk fashion, simply dismiss. “ I don’t think I’m dismissing anything, can you give me an example?

    “Reality check: Any terrorists threat from Iraq in 2002? Nope. Any WMD? Nope, those claims were all bogus.” This is where the bigger game comes into play, we needed a base in the area and we needed to sprout democracy, that is why in part we have seen want we have recently in Libya, we stayed the course (now we’ll see what we have sewn).

    The rest of your piece… to the victor goes the spoils.

  37. Smith Says:

    “if they stop killing us, we will stop killing them.”

    I’m sure Al Qaeda says the exact same thing. Of course, it has as much weight coming from them as it does coming from you.

  38. Smith Says:

    “war against Islam”

    I offer this as proof of your extremism.

  39. shcb Says:

    I don’t think that is extreme, it is just stating a fact, everyone knows we’re at war with Islam, some won’t admit it but they still know it. And yes both sides say the same thing, that is why there is a winner and a loser and why the winner gets to dictate the terms. Only very seldom has a war ended with both sides deciding to stop killing each other, one side usually has no choice.

    At some point the more moderate wing of Islam may be able to control the more radical, the question is will we have to force that on the moderates or will they do it themselves.

  40. knarlyknight Says:

    No shcb, everyone does not think we are at war with Islam. That is an extreme position even for the worst idealogues.

    Wiki has decent background info on the topic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_against_Islam

    “War against Islam” is a cathphrase used mainly by extremists in Islamic cirlces to demonize things that the West does that seems to undercut the principles of that religion (e.g. charge interest on loans.)

    Only the ignorant extremists (on either side) would take that concept further and use it to justify killing.

  41. shcb Says:

    I’m not concerned with catch phrases or political correctness, the fact is we are at war with people that have one thing in common, they practice a certain faith. The ones we are actually shooting and are shooting us are the most fanatical of course but a large percentage of less radical seem overall supportive so yes, we are in a war with Islam.

  42. enkidu Says:

    truly one of the dumbest things you’ve ever vomited forth wwnj

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_world
    so we are at War with 1.2 to 1.6 billion human beings?
    I thought we were in a low level struggle against violent extremism (wwnjs and ienjs being two sides of the same coin)

    I can tell you are itching to use your patented prairie dog (cough Mexican) extermination techniques with a full on thermonookoolar first strike.
    Aren’t you done masturbating to all the Libya war porn yet?
    sheesh, pull up your pants man

    And to read that you think you are some wise old n-dimensional chess Grand Master, sagely scolding us dum libs on How The Great Game is Played… hilarious (for a poo flinging monkey playing checkers with his poop you are ever so full of strategery) We needed Iraq as a base? Full on insane. hint: qatar, UAE etc etc We have something like 760 military bases across the planet! ah but why let facts and figures get in the way of wwnj ‘thinking’

  43. shcb Says:

    I wouldn’t expect you to understand Enky, first you overstated what I said (surprise!!!) I said the world is a 3d chess game but I only understand a small portion of that game while you understand so much less, not that I was the master. Point in case, 760 bases around the world. A base isn’t just a place to land planes or feed chow to the troops, it can be and I was talking about that aspect, but I was also talking about millions of happy faces holding purple fingers to the camera because they had voted for the first time. The only reason for those fingers held up so proudly was because we had a base there, not one piece of tarmac but the more exoteric use of the word, base used as a state of mind.

  44. enkidu Says:

    lol
    Base used as a state of mind… but your mind is empty of rational reasonable thought (see virtually any post from wwnj).

    Still, pretty good for one handed typing.

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