I may have found the Drudge formula and Raymond Nize

Ray Nize and the Marine

Ray Nize, aka Robert Wenzel (left) and an anonymous Marine

[Note: scroll down to Part IV for sock-puppets and identities]

Yesterday I may have been given a SEO scheme purportedly devised by Robert Wenzel (just one alias, see bottom for other possible names) that supposedly allows its users to receive direct hyperlinks from sites like DrudgeReport.com.  The scheme remains unharmed and no hacking took place to retrieve it.

I would link to the website maintained by Robert called EconomicPolicyJournal.com (warning: IP malware) but users will inadvertently copy the entire contents of the website.  Modern browsers such as IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera — by default — copy the content of websites that are visited into a temporary directory.  This action instantly reproduces the exact CSS and HTML code on a given site and can be done without the express written permission of a site proprietor.  Yet the original site remains unscathed, all of the information and data — the digitized mathematical patterns — remain unharmed.

Anachronistically, Robert is under the impression that information is scarce.  Here is an example to illustrate that information is not scarce.

If you are reading this, please follow this short guide:

  • Step 1: Open up a copy of a word processor (MS Word, Google Docs, LibreWriter)
  • Step 2: Go to the homepage of your favorite website (TheOnion.com of course)
  • Step 3: Press Crtl – A   (this will highlight everything on this site)
  • Step 4: Press Crtl – C  (this will temporarily copy all of this content on to your computer clipboard)
  • Step 5: Go back to your word processor
  • Step 6: Press Crtl – V  (this will paste everything that was highlighted into the word document)

If you follow these instructions you will have successfully reproduced all information bit-by-bit without the original site losing anything.  The integrity of the original data remains disabused on the host servers of TheOnion.

Throughout each day, artificial intelligent scripts called “robots” or “spiders” continually scour the internet scanning, copying and pasting content — yet the sites they visit never are at a loss of property.  The reason why is information is not scarce in the economic sense (see Scarcity, Rivalrous and Against Intellectual Property).  Thus when robots and spiders created by Google, Yahoo, Bing and even Baidu to catalog the internet pore through your site, they are not “stealing” anything or acting as information pirates (nothing is stolen as the original remains unperturbed) but rather they are merely reproducing the exact data structures as they appear.  And thus sites that Google or Bing scan, are not deprived of the original data.  Or in layman’s parlance: no data or information is harmed in the making of this post.

Yet time and again (I would link to his sites but do not want users to inadvertently, accidentally download other IP malware) Robert contends that some kind of theft is taking place.  In other words, he contends that users have somehow physically taken something and he thus has the right to excise control over the patterns of data on your drives and ultimately the copies in your brain.  You see, taken to the logical extreme, to prevent a user from reproducing data you would need some kind of thought police, some kind of enforcement program to bore inside each brain, to prevent the various neurons, axons and dendrils from copying and storing the information in the lobes (a scenario that Charles Stross explores in his novels).  Or in otherwords, IP itself is a form of steampunk malware — imagined in the Age of Sail to protect existing business models and special interests by granting intellectual monopolies which would not exist in a free-market and are only enforceable via coercion (e.g., the state).

Part II

A friend of a friend of mine recently sent me some troubling information (that has been reproduced perfectly bit-by-bit — without any harm or destruction done to the original copy).  According to this contact, Robert Wenzel may have massaged part of a talk he gave at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Below is a transcript from Wenzel’s talk at the LVMI last month.  Here is what Wenzel said in the speech (see 28 minutes in) — An Examination of Key Factors in the Collapse of the Soviet Union:

“If a peasant handed over his surplus grain, the state would get what it wanted. Any who did not were labelled ‘kulaks’ and, therefore, were ‘enemies of the state’ and suitably punished – along with their grain being confiscated.

“He ordered ‘the destruction of kulaks as a class.’ . . . No one was quite sure, though, what was a ‘kulak’ and no one wanted to ask Stalin. . . .

“The kulaks were divided into three groups. . . [These were the groups]: those to be killed immediately, those to be sent to prison and those to be deported to Siberia or Russian Asia. The third category alone consisted of about 150,000 households, one million people. Stalin believed that such a brutal policy would persuade others in agricultural regions to accept the rule of Moscow and that resistance would end. Stalin wrote to [his aides] “We must break the back of the peasantry.”

Compare Wenzel’s passage to this excerpt from an online encyclopedia article, The Great Famine:

“If a peasant handed over his surplus grain, the state would get what it wanted. Any who did not were labelled ‘kulaks’ and, therefore, were ‘enemies of the state’ and suitably punished – along with their grain being confiscated.

“He ordered ‘the destruction of the kulaks as a class.’ No one was quite sure as to what determined a ‘kulak’ but no one in Moscow was willing to raise this issue with Stalin.

“The kulaks were divided into three groups. . . : those to be killed immediately, those to be sent to prison and those to be deported to Siberia or Russian Asia. The third category alone consisted of about 150,000 households, one million people. Stalin believed that such a brutal policy would persuade others in agricultural regions to accept the rule of Moscow and that resistance would end. Stalin wrote to Molotov, “We must break the back of the peasantry.”

Yet Robert holds firm positions on plagiarism elsewhere.  This next statement is copied and pasted, without the destruction or harm of the original information from Robert regarding Stefan Molyneux:

“That a plagiarist like Molyneux can simply grab another person’s writing and give the impression that it is his original writing, in my view, it is a sleazy move and theft.”

While his whole talk is long block quotes from cited sources, why did he lift this without attribution from an encyclopedia narrative?  Why is copying and reproducing okay to do in that circumstance, but not in others (e.g., copying a music file or movie)?

A similar instance occurred during a recent debate between Wenzel and a patent attorney in which Wenzel restated the definition of multivariable calculus word for word, without citing the source (Wikipedia).

Part III

A year ago, Robert claimed he spoke “at the invitation of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.”  At the time he claimed to have read these prepared marks at the NY Fed.  Yet the stark reality is that he only spoke to two other people at the Fed, including the acquaintance who invited him to lunch.  He has thus misled everyone by making it seem it was some kind of keynote speech:

This was not a “speech” at the in sense that Robert Wenzel was holding forth in front of large room full of Federal Reserve policy makers and analysts. I spoke with Richard Peach at the New York Fed: the “speech” was just Robert Wenzel having lunch in the dining room with two people — Richard Peach and one colleague — during which Wenzel read his speech to the two of them over lunch. This was not Netanyahu at the UN.

Wenzel’s claim is misleading, it is disingenuous.  I frequently walk nearby various CPC (Communist Party of China) buildings throughout the year.  I have even talked about free-market ideas with a couple of my Chinese friends near those buildings.  Yet it would be false of me to claim that I “spoke” at the CPC or that I gave a speech to Party officials.

Which brings us back to the Drudge formula.  Like all SEO, there is no ironclad mathematical formula to get on Drudge.  Hyperbolic headlines, purported insider scoops, specific keywords and posting first — are all part and parcel to the SEO/SEM industry.  That is how link-baiting sites like Business Insider and HuffingtonPost work.  Yet no matter who buys/copies/transfers the purported formula, the original remains as unharmed as the day it was first assimilated — no information was destroyed or stolen.  However Robert, like all people who communicate and convey information, must now compete with others who have observed and procured a non-scarce entity.

Part IV – unmasking the sock puppet

So who is this Robert Wenzel character (rw@economicpolicyjournal.com)?

  • There used to be a site called EconomicPolicyReview.com (2007-2008) run by Raymond Salter (rs@economicpolicyreview.com).  Here is a 2007 copy from TheWayBackMachine.  He wrote near identical copy to EPJ today.  The Phil Gramm post on EPJ (careful IP!) is identical to the one on EPR (same date even).  Here is a SS.
  • Prior to that was another similar site called EconomicsDaily run by Raymond Fuller (raymond.fuller@economicsdaily.com), here is a 2005 copy from TheWayBackMachine.  During this time, Fuller even was involved in a spat with Gene Callahan (who used to be affiliated with the LVMI).  Fuller also wrote similar copy and content as EPJ today.
  • From 2002-2005 another site, Menrohm.com was maintained by Robert Menrhom (rm@menrohm.com), here is a 2005 copy which discusses some of the same topics (Freakonomics) and quoting libertarians like Justin Raimondo.
  • In 2006 a Peter Stojan piece (SS) at LRC cites Raymond Keller (not Fuller) as a source of commentary.  Stojan’s company (montreauxadvisors.com) does not exist.  A 2006 copy of Raymond Keller’s site is up on TheWayBackMachine and Keller’s Blogger profile is expired but turns into (SS) Raymond Salter’s.  Keller also wrote about economics (Freakonomics) and talks about his letters to the late LRC publisher, Burt Blumert.

While it would be fallacious to connect those dots (guilt by association) consider the case of Los Angeles resident Raymond Nize, owner of Beacon Hill West and Nize Holdings.

In 2006 there was press release issued (SS) on behalf of Raymond Nize a supposed expert in economic forecasting who would be speaking at a World Economics Forecast Conference.  The conference did not exist nor was the book by the title that Nize supposedly wrote ever published (“Understanding Macro-Economic Forecasting: A guide for Business Executives and Investors”).  This same Nize may be the same poster at LVMI (see here and here and here).  If it is the same Nize (nize@nizenotes.com), then TheWayBackMachine also has a 2006 copy of yet another Blogger site that once again is written in similar style/copy as EPJ (e.g., macro economics).  Nize also commented on this post (SS) about re-finance mortgages in California but later removed his last name.  Nize’s other Blogger profile (SS) leads to a dead end pointing to a non-existent site about the 213 area code of LA — a common theme through many of these domains and aliases is they are usually affiliated with LA.  Looking through Technorati a site originally dedicated to indexing and searching blogs), Nizenotes is claimed (SS) by a mont99.  One mont99 (located in LA — room730@gmail.com) also has a profile (SS) at LibraryThing that includes favorites along the same genres/topics of all the other blogs thus far (libertarianism/Austrianism).  (Note: this mont99 is probably a different room730.)

All of these sites have very similar look, feel and commentary to EconomicPolicyJournal.com and a few posts that are on all of the sites (with small changes) plus EPR also shows history going back to 2002 while it was really created in 2007.  It is very likely that the same person is behind all of the Blogger sites but nothing besides the spartan aesthetic looks, content genre (all libertarian/econ), content layout (short blurbs/block quotes) and email addresses (similar style) confirms that.  EPR seem to have been picked up in 2009 by other people and then dropped again, the domain is unowned at the moment.

The smoking gun however, is a lawsuit filed (SS) on January 14, 2008 where Ray was named as a defendant in a case filed in California: La Jolla Cove Investors, Inc vs Stomar Partners, Inc, Jim Miller, Raymond Nize and Does 1-10 (case no: 37-2007-000642640CU-BC-CTL).  While I cannot weigh on the merits of the case (the plaintiff’s site is just one side of things… install Quicktime/IE for his 2nd monologue here), the plaintiff was apparently friends with Ray and his ex-gf.  Here is a picture (SS) of Ray with the plaintiff (also seen at the top of this post).  Compare that with his alias (Robert Wenzel’s) video from the LVMI speech last month (see side-by-side comparison at the bottom).  Furthermore, if you do a WhoIs database search on EconomicPolicyJournal.com, it is registered to EPJ Holdings — to a Los Angeles address (5042 Wilshire Blvd) and the registered phone number (213-2593-55XX) is an area code for LA as well (SS).

Possible known aliases:

  • Raymond Nize
  • Raymond Sabat
  • Robert Menrohm
  • Raymond Fuller
  • Raymond Keller
  • Peter Stojan
  • Raymond Salter
  • Robert Wenzel
  • Robert Wallach (see update 1)
  • Raymond Walkosz (see update 3)
  • Paul Trombley

According to a friend of a friend who tipped me off on this, he suspects that there are many more aliases out there.  I think it is more likely than not that Robert Wenzel is not his original name and probably even not his actual current name.  And it seems like EPJ was his biggest success story so he stuck with that name because of that.  Furthermore, it is hard to verify his claims of working at a hedge fund or in Wall Street itself let alone corroborate his purported predictions of booms and busts like the 2008 financial crash when he seems to have a history of backdating posts.

And while I personally have no qualms with people reinventing themselves or even leading multiple lives this entire escapade is beginning to look more and more like the Libertarian Girl hoax (see here and here) with a dash of bravado from Catch Me If You Can, a dab of whodunnit from The Usual Suspects and a smattering of interconnected cast members from Cloud Atlas.

Is Robert Wenzel/Raymond Nize the modern-day Keyser Söze?  Or is he a mere internet sockpuppet?

Update 1: another source just emailed the following information, there are two more similar sites.  EconomicBriefing.com (copy at TWBM and SS) and EconomicsBriefing.com (copy at TWBM and SS). The last one was active 2005 and 2007, with two different authors.  All linked to the alias, Raymond Sabat and a new one, Robert Wallach (rw@economicsbriefing.com).  The latter has the same Blogger layout and the former is an already known alias.  Both cover the same genre/topics and writing format as the other Wenzel/Nize aliases.

Update 2: Over the night (or during the day depending on your time zone) there have been a few other sightings/uncoverings.  It turns out a few years ago Bob Murphy accidentally uncovered one alias (Raymond Sabat) and didn’t know it at the time.  At the time, Wenzel/Nize outs the same persona (SS), calling it a “pen name” that he used due to “other business commitments.”  Another Raymond Nize sighting was discovered in 2006 at Econlib, in a comment discussing LA.  Robert Wallach (the new alias mentioned in the first update) was found to have published a piece over LRC (SS).

Update 3: Two weeks later a new source sent me new information regarding another Wenzel/Nize alias that was involved in penny stock scheme of a company called IVAY (Investigative Services Agencies).   At one point IVAY promoters used a notorious “pump & dump” message board (Investor Hub) — which was heavily active during February – March of 2007 during a price rise of over 100 percent .07 to .26 (see several hundred posts here).  Users stevo51 and creede claims to have spoken to Ray several times during this period: 1 2 3 4.  This company produced a number of PR notices claiming that “we [IVAY] anticipate hiring more than 400 new employees and a multimillion-dollar increase in revenues over the term of this contract.”  PR news source: 1 2 3  Keep in mind the company had $6,425 in cash as of December 31, 2006. The stock then got suspended March 8, 2007 as part of an SEC crackdown of 35 companies that were accused of manipulation and failing to disclose material information to the public.  According to the Rip Off Report complaint a police report was filed May 5 because of theft.  This IVAY firm involves yet another Nize/Wenzel alias, named Raymond Walkosz (rw@stomarpartners.com) who was the “president and founder of the financial public relations and investor relations firm Stomar Partners. Walkosz has represented companies trading on the American Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, the OTC Bulletin Board and the Pink Sheets.”  According to DeletedDomains (which tracks domain expirations), stomarpartners.com was vacated on March 10, 2006 and is empty today.   This same IVAY issued a press release listing 100 VIPs invited to a Beverly Hills gala; Raymond Nize was a named guest.  This same Nize may be the creator of an inactive LinkedIn profile (SS) which lists his residence as LA and industry as entertainment.  In addition, the case noted above (# 37-2007-00064264-CU-BC-CT), the outcome was judgment by default — the plantiff was awarded $95,439.95 damages and $10,809.55 prejudgment interest at 9.75%.  This case involved a stock sale agreement between the parties (Nize/Wenzel was a defendant).  In 2005, this same Raymond Walkosz alias published at least one more PR release, this time promoting another seemingly phantom company called Worldwide Manufacturing USA (website) that is another penny stock (OTCBB:WMFG), yet it does not seem as if the company produces or sold anything and its CEO, Jimmy Wang, has been thus far unlocatable.   See more details at the Acceleritas thread and at the Mises community forum.

Update 4: This blog has received trollish comments from a “Paul Trombley” (paul.trombley@yahoo.com).  A bit of cursory googling reveals that this same “Paul” has similar interests as Nize/Wenzel and even quotes Nize/Wenzel in various threads on sites like Mises.org.  See this post longer post here.

Robert Wenzel, Ray Nize, Marine

Robert Wenzel, Ray Nize (middle), and an anonymous Marine

 

 

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11 thoughts on “I may have found the Drudge formula and Raymond Nize

  1. Pingback: Who The Hell Is Robert Wenzel From EconomicPolicyJournal.com Really?

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  5. This is absolutely fascinating. It’s too bad that the LvMI, which I think largely does good work, has given this fraud the exposure that it has.

    • Too true. This guy needs to be unmasked and shamed from speaking at legitimate libertarian outlets like LVMI.

    • He shows up on Wenzel’s sites to either praise Wenzel or defend him. And since Wenzel moderates comments (meaning they aren’t posted until he approves), it’s telling how quickly “Jack Weil” comes to the rescue.
      He also posts as anonymous in the same vein.

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