Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gpal: No pal of the gun world

Just as one man caused a furor worldwide with a Ponzi scheme that snared thousands within its financial spider web of deceit, so has the gun world been unwillingly duped by our own guns and bullets version of Bernie Madoff.

A 29-year-old schmoozer and charmer and bullshit artist from California has managed to create a fault line within the California gun owners, via, that makes the San Andreas fault look like a mere crack in the sidewalk.

Enter Ben Cannon, a slick, arrogant, con man who seemingly has more backgrounds than James Bond and the Chevy Chase character, "Fletch," all combined. To read Cannon's self-expressed resume, at the end of the day one can only wonder why this guy is not giving counsel to Warren Buffet, Donald Trump and Tim Geithner when it comes to business and financial matters.

Only one small problem: Cannon's latest business failure, Gunpal, now known as Gpal, has flopped harder than a beached largemouth bass on an Alabama shoreline.

Enter the Gpal scam.

Let me back up for a minute and explain Gpal to those unfamiliar. . .Think Paypal, that monetary transfer service people use when they do business with Ebay. Paypal has been accused at many levels of being anti-gun and for suspending customers' accounts due to violations of their Terms Of Service (TOS) when gun purchases were made and Paypal used to complete the exchange of funds between buyer and seller.

So along comes Ben Cannon and Gunpal promising to be a gun-friendly transfer system as opposed to Paypal. He gets off to a well publicized start, because if there is one thing Ben Cannon is well-versed and practiced at doing, other than masturbation with himself as the object of his desire, it is in publicizing himself and his latest ventures.

Ben has a worshipping faction at a place called and as predicted, they lined up, passed around the Kool Aid, drank heartily and blindly supported Gunpal. Many others of us did as well. What's not to like about a pro-gun, gun-friendly financial transfer service, after all?

This Ordinary American was hoping Gunpal would succeed and become a viable service for frustrated gun owners unable to complete monetary transfers with Paypal for online goods and services related to the gun world.

But unfortunately, this Ordinary American was not familiar with Ben Cannon. Had any of us here at An Ordinary American known about Ben Cannon and his lying, scheming, scamming, bullshit ways, no way would we have been quietly supporting him or Gunpal.

Sometime around February 2010, Gunpal changed their name to Gpal. That should have been the first "uh-oh" sign for the gun world: A pro-gun service taking the word "gun" out of their name.

Some feeble excuses were offered and the Cannon Crusaders mixed more Kool Aid and slugged it down and staunchly defended their man.

But even as early as February 2010, not all was well. The first signs of trouble were already out and in the open. Several gun forum owners and administrators began posting warnings to their membership about Gunpal, now Gpal.

A fellow by the name of "GpalVP" immediately showed up wherever there was doubt of discourse about Gpal. He laughed off the problems and promised that they were simply "growing pains and that Gpal wants your business." The Kool Aid drinkers kept slugging it down.

Then in May, things got worse. It seems a lot of gun/industry sellers had been quite successful at promoting Gpal (formerly Gunpal) as their payment processor. But it also seems that Gpal wasn't quite as successful at paying out the money it was taking in.

Uh-oh number two.

More forum and site administrators started issuing warnings. GpalVP shows up and explains that one of their banks "screwed them" and that they are looking for a new bank.

That was when this writer's BSD (Bull Shit Detector) first began vibrating and registering around a 6.3. Banks enter negotiated or standard contract relationships with customers. They don't just arbitrarily "screw you," not if they don't want a slew of FDIC and other fed investigators sticking an investigative microscope up their asses.

In June and July of 2010, the grumblings of non-payment by Gpal became more frequent, more widespread and more heated. In response, GpalVP's comments became more defensive, more derogatory and the first threats of "legal actions" against anyone saying or claiming derogatory things about Gpal and/or Ben Cannon began to surface.

Uh-oh number three.

Ben Cannon ignored the fact that by his shameless and endless self-aggrandizing and self-promotion, endless press releases and photographs on the internet that he had effectively made himself a public figure. When that happened, those well familiar with Ben Cannon and his scheming, scamming ways began coming out of the closet and telling eerily similar tales.

And within them, the truth about Ben Cannon began to emerge.

No longer was it considered cute that a 29-year-old con artist who still reportedly lived at home with his parents was out playing big-shot entrepreneur. Cannon's claims of grandeur began bringing him unwanted attention, such as an arrest for impersonating a police officer--a charge later dropped due to conflicting evidence reports.

Google searches for "Ben Cannon" "Gpal" "Fraud" and "scam" began yielding more fruit than a south Florida citrus harvest, and with them, more victims of previous Ben Cannon excursions began coming forth.

And they are still coming forth at the time of this writing.

The long and the short of it is that it strongly appears Ben Cannon and Gpal have not been paying out the money they've been taking in from gun world customers. Along the way, amidst a huge and ever growing number of complaints, Cannon has not-so-subtly changed the Terms of Service at Gpal--a move that has now garnered the attention of the FBI and the FTC.

There are a number of forums and gun-world related sites replete with honest, law-abiding gun sellers who are out sums of money ranging from $50 on upwards to four-figures, with some even claiming that they are out five-figures.

How they have not been paid is the question.

Hypothetical example:

If I sell you a gun for $5000 and you pay me via Gpal, then Gpal has $5000 of your money in their account, plus a fee from the percentage. I then request the $5000 be moved into my account. Gpal's TOS stated, at the time, three to seven business days for the transfer to occur.

That should have been the first bells going off. Up to seven business days to transfer money being held in accounts right next to each other?

But in many cases, the transfer wasn't done in seven days. In many instances, those transfers weren't even done in seventy days. So now, I'm out $5000 for this one transaction. If I've done several more nice gun sales, I could easily be out up to $10,000 in funds tied up in Ben Cannon's Gpal scheme, waiting on my money that the buyers paid in good faith and which has been documented to be in a Gpal account, to be transferred into my account.

Only, in too many cases, the transfers are not happening.

Our question is Why the hell not?

My gut feeling and opinion is because Ben Cannon and Gpal have already spent it, and are now having to wait on more money to come in so they can cover the outbound transfers. Ponzi scheme, anyone?

Ben Cannon has been spotted on several "lifestyles of the rich and adventuresome" websites and forums. He goes by the handle of "artherd" and has a smarmy picture of himself leaning on a silver foreign car and holding up a copy of the Wall Street Journal.

There are literally countless more threads and links one can follow within the gun (and now guitar world, it seems) owners community to read about more tales of woe from Ben Cannon and Gpal.

The one thing that is obvious is that there is more than enough smoke billowing up to indicate a raging, out-of-control fire in the bedroom/office inside his parents' house where the latest "love 'em and leave 'em" business adventure by Ben Cannon is taking place.

Problem is, it's honest, decent law-abiding gun-owners who are getting burned. And for some of them, no amount of first aid can come fast enough as some have already had to shut their doors due to having their money disappear while entrusted to Ben Cannon and Gpal.

And that's what the most despicable of all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Liberty and Justice. . . is it still alive?

I am a contributing member to one forum and one forum only. I have "signed up" for several others, but am a "lurker," meaning I am a "read-only" guy. Have no interest in contributing my thoughts or opinions. On a couple of them, having to do with aviation and leatherworking, I can't contribute--the regular members on there are light years above and beyond my knowledge and experience.

The one forum I do contribute on shall remain nameless, but it is one where I feel very comfortable and very much a part of the community. So much so that I even send money to help support it.

It is not a political forum, but does have an "off-topic" area in which politics are often discussed. Normally I'd rather discuss autopsies and bowel movements over politics, but seeing as how they are so often similar in nature. . .

A member asked, "Is Liberty and Justice still alive in the United States?"

The answers surprised me, enraged me and encouraged me. But a response from one of the younger members evoked this response from yours truly:

I don't know how old you or any of the younger generations here are or if you served any time in the military, or in a war zone or in a foreign land, but. . .

I have. And I'll tell you--and anyone else reading--that while we have our warts, we are still a helluva lot better place to be than just about anywhere else in the world.

Our problem is that we're a bunch of spoiled, lazy, pathetic, whining do-nothing, MTV, American Idol, Survivor, Lost watching malcontents who are scared of sweat, callouses, physical pain and most of all, SACRIFICE.

Jesus Cristo! Talk to some of our WWII vets who lived through the Great Depression--and then WENT TO WAR for crying out loud! Listen to them talk about not having food to eat, about having to trade a family horse or mule for friggin' lard and flour JUST TO MAKE BISCUITS. Go to the library and look up pictures of the endless soup lines in the big cities. Look at the foreclosures. Look at the poverty. Look at the suicides that occurred.

Liberty and Justice?

I damned sure have Liberty and Justice. I have it in the U.S. Constitution. I may have to work a bit harder for it today than I would have twenty or thirty or forty years ago, but by God I still have it.

I have it because I still have a First Amendment that allows me to raise hell and speak out and call my elected officials a "dirty stinking crooked rotten sonofabitch" right to their face without getting tossed in the gulag for such a transgression.

How do I know? Because that is EXACTLY what I called U.S. Senator Phil Gramm back in 1989 and to his face. It didn't do my career advancement in federal law enforcement any favors, but I also didn't get tossed in jail or even reprimanded.

Why do I have a First Amendment? Because I also have a Second Amendment. I have a Second Amendment because I spend less time watching Lost and American Idol and eating Big Macs and more time writing letters and raising hell with my politicians and putting Big Mac money towards groups like the NRA and GOA and TSRA, plus supporting politicians that still believe in, and support, the Second Amendment and the rest of the Constitution.

Hell, we have people RIGHT FREAKING HERE that whine the NRA "isn't perfect" and has "betrayed them." They use that as justification to sit on their sorry dead asses and let the rest of us do the heavy lifting when it comes to defending our freedoms.

Well, BULLSHIT to that!

Without them or any of the other groups, we probably would not even be able to have this discussion. For sure, 90% of anyone who writes or even reads a blog would be tossed in the gulag.

But no, let's whine whine whine like a bunch of junior high girls who lost their tampons.

Liberty and Justice? It's all spelled out in the Declaration and Constitution. If you want it, you got to damn well FIGHT for it and DEFEND it. Preaching and whining to the choir don't cut it. You take the fight to the enemy and you kick them square in the testicles and hit them square in the mouth. You knock them down, then you kick the fecal-matter out of them while they're down and then you finish them off.

"But that's not civilized, Mr. Ordinary American," some will whine. Well kiss my uncivilized ass because that is what it took up through 1776, that's what it took in every major war or battle we've successfully fought and won, and that is what it will take to keep our Liberty and Justice secure for us and generations to come.

If you think it can't be done or don't want to "risk" anything such as your bank account or your house or your belongings, then get the hell out of my country because you're the problem and not the solution.

Apathy is exactly what the enemies of freedom--be it religious or political--count on. Apathy breeds comfort and comfort breeds fear. I was taught in the military to always take a little fear with me as it kept you sharp and focused. Same thing was taught to me in law enforcement.

Liberty and Justice? It's here. It's up to us to KEEP it here!

So, do we still have liberty and freedom here?

Only so long as we continue to fight like hell for it. Marxist Muslim sympathizing pieces of fecal matter like our present President make the fight all the more harder, and often times treacherous.

But that is when the men are separated from the boys. Anyone can--and will--do it when it's easy and risk free.

It's times like these when the real Americans have to stand up and be counted.

And God Bless them, so far they are. I see them in Tea Parties. I see them in rallies. I see them in groups railing against incumbents. I see them in those who supported and got people like Scott Brown, Governor Christie and an entire Virgian top-executive group elected--tossing the incumbent support and mentality drones out on their asses in the process.

These people took tremendous risks, and look at what was gained.

You want Liberty? You want Justice?

Then fight for it, damnit!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Austin Plane Crash & National Stupidity

You knew it was going to happen.

A small airplane did not crash into the IRS building in Austin today. It did not crash into the building anymore than an SUV swerved into a lane of oncoming traffic and running head-on into a flock of nuns.

A pissed off, deranged wackjob flew his airplane into the IRS building in Austin. Same as some unattentive numbnuts was paying more attention to his or her cell phone and text messaging while behind the wheel of a Suburban or Expedition.

Yet, the liberal dumbass rags immediately jump on general aviation. One of the more liberal, dumbass of the flock, The Christian Science Monitor, points out

"The incident has “revealed a weakness we have been aware of since 9/11.... It’s an issue that Congress definitely needs to look at,” he said.

This idiotic statement was made by a Texas RINO, US Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.).

I thought Repubics were smart enough to realize that inanimate objects are incapable of acting on their own. I also seem to remember many Repubics not wanting to hold an entire group accountable for the actions of a few.

Maybe we should just dump every damned Repubic this November since a few of them sided with Hussein Obama in passing this stimulus garbage that resulted in the largest national debt in our history.

Talk about revealing a weakness, in the Repubic's own words. . .

I have a couple of true passions in life. One is guns and another is flying. Both get maligned by Pravda and Tass (aka national media) and the Democraps whenever possible.

The Democraps and those who flock to them are terrified of law-abiding citizens who dare to exercise their Constitutional rights. Never mind the facts. Never mind that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are used a gazillion times each year to defend honest citizens against the Democraps' core base, er, excuse me, I meant "criminals."

Freudian slip. Mea culpa.

But when the Democratic base uses guns in a felonious manner, it is naturally the law-abiding gun owner's fault somehow. Either we didn't lock our guns up securely enough, or we had too many or we sold it/them to the "wrong" person, blah blah blah.

What the Democratic mindset purposefully ignores, with the aid of Pravda, is that if my gun is stolen because I didn't lock it up well enough, that act of it being stolen is a CRIME. A crime committed by a CRIMINAL--a criminal who then uses my stolen property to commit another crime.

And somehow I'm responsible for that?


Likewise, some wackjob flies his single-engine airplane into the IRS building in Austin, and I--pilot and operator of a single-engine airplane myself--am now branded a threat?

Bullshit again.

There are only three groups of people in this country stupid enough to believe that: Elected Officials, Reporters and the Sheople who blindly follow and believe them.

But lest you be surprised, need I also remind you that these are the same three groups who also got us "Hope and Change you can believe in." Talk about National Stupidity.

Anyone reading this who thinks that small airplanes are a danger should ask themselves this question about today's event in Austin:

Who poses a greater threat to your individual freedom, liberty and pursuit of happiness--the Internal Revenue Service or private pilots?

This is in no way excusing or defending Joseph Stack's wackjob stunt today. Personally, I'm glad the pukebag died in the crash. It was the least he could do. And I hope he has some serious explaining to do up yonder.

But for all the hype and BS I've read in the national and local rags about "those dangerous little airplanes" and "no way to defend against them," I've yet to read one stinking, solitary word about the antics and shenanigans of the IRS and that there is no way to defend yourself against any allegations made by the IRS.

And finally, I've yet to read any story regarding the reason such anger exists against the IRS that would cause someone to kamikaze themselves into the very open arms of Hell itself, which is what many refer to the IRS as.

Instead, we're being told that something else is the problem.

Is it any wonder that so-called "mainstream media" publications and broadcasts are losing money faster than Jennifer Anniston changes boyfriends?

Next, the media will tell us why we need to bail them out.

And that will be the ultimate National Stupidity.

Airlines wonder why they're going broke?

Had the misfortune to fly to Phoenix this past week for a wedding.

The misfortune had nothing to do with Phoenix, a town I enjoy visiting, or the fact that my nephew was getting married--he's a good guy and he found a jewel of a lady to settle down with.

The misfortune was once again having to deal with an airport system that would give George Orwell a bad case of indigestion, not to mention the shakes.

Compounding this experience was the fact that we flew with American Airlines. As usual, late arriving on both ends of the flight despite severe-clear weather throughout the entire route.

But what really steamed me was having to pay $25 to check one piece of luggage. What pissed me off royally was that if I'd wanted to check a second piece of luggage, it would've been an additional $35 dollars.

I have no brief with the airplane people at American Airlines. None whatsoever. The airplane people are those folks who drive the planes, attend to the passengers, load the bags and fill up the fuel tanks, take my tickets and tell me to "have a nice flight." They are all outstanding, hard-working people.

No, it's the alpha-hotels who run American Airlines. Alpha-hotels like Gerard Arpey, the CEO, and Don Carty, the ex-CEO.

For those of you who are not ex-military or ex-law enforcement, "alpha-hotel" is an acronym for asshole. People like Arpey and Carty sometimes get a bit testy about being called an asshole, so hence, the use of alpha-hotel.

The alpha-hotels who run American Airlines continue to badger the airplane people--those who do the work--into making and taking less so that the executives, who don't know a pitot tube from a pressure gauge or an aileron from an amperage indicator, can make and take more.

In the Air Force, generals who do not have pilot's wings are looked at as little more than political pissants--which they are. After all, the job of the Air Force is to fly airplanes. Everything else around the Air Force is designed to support the air portion of the mission.

Likewise, in the Marine Corps, you will not find a Marine that is afraid of guns and who does not know how to shoot one.

In the Navy, you'll find a lot of Admirals who still think that port is an after dinner alcoholic beverage and starboard is what their grandchildren look at when visiting the planetarium.

Like the Air Force, these pissant admirals and generals often end up in senior management at the Pentagon, where they can do the least amount of harm to the actual warriors out in the real world.

However, at American Airlines, pissants like Arpey, and Carty before him, rise like the proverbial turd floating in an overused toilet bowl to the very top of the organization--put there, in large part, by fellow incompetents who were appointed to the Board of Directors by previous incompetents.

In the military, we used to refer to such antics as a circle-jerk.

Just as pissant admirals and generals look out for each other, often at the expense of the troops, so does today's breed of corporate CEO and board directors.

Who pays?

We do, of course.

We have to pay. Carty sucked the airplane people at American drier than a stadium full of vampires with keys to the blood bank. Arpey, not to be outdone, turned his pencil-pushing hyenas loose and found more scraps of meat here and there from the airplane people (pilots, attendants, mechanics, handlers, etc) that could be picked and gnawed away at.

Then the pencil-pushing hyenas struck gold.

The passengers hadn't been fleeced yet.

So now, no matter what you pay for a ticket on American Airlines, if you want to be able to change clothes when you get to your destination and you have to check that suitcase because it will not fit in the overhead, fork over $25 smackers. That's $50 additional for a round trip.

Think American is finished? Hell, no.

If you want to take a nap and ask for a pillow--that's $8. EIGHT DOLLARS for a pillow you can buy at Walgreens for $2.50 all day and every day. EIGHT DOLLARS for a pillow that you don't even get to keep.

What if you catch a chill on an American Airlines flight and ask for a blanket? $8 more dollars. EIGHT DOLLARS for a blanket you can get at Wal-mart for ONE DOLLAR all day long.

What's next, a surcharge for ringing the bell to get an attendant's attention? A surcharge for saying, "Hello, how are you doing?" to the flight crew as you herd your way into the airplane? How long will it be before there is a surcharge for logging onto the American Airlines website just to see what the newest surcharges are?

I wish I could say American Airlines was the only airline that is doing this, but the sad fact of the matter is that they are not.

But American Airlines got a dumptruck load of our money--public tax dollars--after September 11, 2001 to stay in business. Carty walked around Washington DC with his hand out more than a New York City panhandler. Arpey likes to hint and threaten at bankruptcy and re-organization.

In the midst of the Obama-cession, it boggles my mind how businesses who are struggling insist on raising prices, then whining like a jilted prom queen when customers flip them the finger and shop somewhere else. Or, when customers simply refuse to shop at all.

This is yet another example of what happens when our government gets too involved with our private sector businesses. Businesses begin picking up the bad habits of our government.

Growing up, when times were tough, my parents taught my brother and me that we had to "tighten our belts and watch our spending." Government is just the opposite--they spend more and charge more.

Hey Gerard Arpey! Here's some advice:

Listen to your passengers and customers. I saw two dozen empty seats on our flight. Empty seats don't make money. Discount them. It costs the same to fly that MD-80 from DFW to PHX whether you have two empty seats or 60 empty seats. Making a little money is better than making no money.

Good advice, eh?

That'll be $25 Arpey owes me.

Maybe we customers should start charging businesses for our patronage. . .