In a twist of events since Wenzel foolishly took on Stephan Kinsella in a debate over IP, more and more facts about Wenzel are coming out.
Part IV – unmasking the sock puppet
So who is this Robert Wenzel character (firstname.lastname@example.org)?
- There used to be a site called EconomicPolicyReview.com (2007-2008) run by Raymond Salter (email@example.com). Here is a 2007copyfrom TheWayBackMachine. He wrote near identical copy to EPJ today. The Phil Gramm post onEPJ(careful IP!) is identical to the one on EPR (same date even). Here is aSS.
- Prior to that was another similar site called EconomicsDaily run by Raymond Fuller (firstname.lastname@example.org), here is a 2005copyfrom TheWayBackMachine. During this time, Fuller even wasinvolvedin 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 (email@example.com), here is a 2005copywhich discusses some of the same topics (Freakonomics) and quoting libertarians like Justin Raimondo.
- In 2006 a Peter Stojanpiece(SS) at LRC cites Raymond Keller (not Fuller) as a source of commentary. Stojan’s company (montreauxadvisors.com) does not exist. A 2006copyof Raymond Keller’s site is up on TheWayBackMachine and Keller’s Blogger profile is expired butturns 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 releaseissued(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 (seehereandhereandhere). If it is the same Nize (firstname.lastname@example.org), then TheWayBackMachine also has a 2006copyof yet another Blogger site that once again is written in similar style/copy as EPJ (e.g., macro economics). Nize also commented onthis post(SS) about re-finance mortgages in California but later removed his last name. Nize’s other Bloggerprofile(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 isclaimed(SS) by a mont99. One mont99 (located in LA — email@example.com) also has aprofile(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 differentroom730.)
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 alawsuit 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 (theplaintiff’s siteis just one side of things… install Quicktime/IE for his 2nd monologuehere), the plaintiff was apparently friends with Ray and his ex-gf. Here is apicture(SS) of Ray with the plaintiff (also seen at the top of this post). Compare that with his alias (Robert Wenzel’s)videofrom the LVMI speech last month (see side-by-side comparison at the bottom). Furthermore, if you do aWhoIs database searchon 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
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 (seehereandhere) with a dash of bravado fromCatch Me If You Can,a dab of whodunnit fromThe Usual Suspectsand a smattering of interconnected cast members fromCloud Atlas.
Is Robert Wenzel/Raymond Nize the modern-day Keyser Söze? Or is he a mere internet sockpuppet?
Update:another source just emailed the following information, there are two more similar sites. EconomicBriefing.com (copyat TWBM andSS) and EconomicsBriefing.com (copyat TWBM andSS). 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
It’s going to be pretty hilarious when we all find out that Wenzel was a CIA plant…