Archive for May, 2011

Area 51’s Latest Resident

Cartoon by J. Neil Schulman and Baloo

Area 51's Latest Resident
Area 51’s Latest Resident

See also Osama bin Laden: Was it a Rendition?

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What’s Happening in Pakistan?

Cartoon by J. Neil Schulman and Baloo

What's Happening in Pakistan?
What’s Happening in Pakistan?

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Lady Magdalene’s Ad Banned By Google!


We Got Osama before Obama
Lady Magdalene’s, an award-winning
suspense-comedy, now on DVD!

Ad Status: Disapproved

Ad Issue(s): Sensitive Content


-> Content: Due to the sensitive nature of this matter, we are not able to run this ad at this time. As noted in our advertising terms and conditions, Google may refuse any ads or terminate any of your ad campaigns at any time, for any reason.

Lady Magdalene's Poster #5
Lady Magdalene’s

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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A Variation on Friedman — School Vouchers for Teachers?

“Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman argued for the modern concept of vouchers in the 1950s, stating that competition would improve schools and cost efficiency. The view further gained popularity with the 1980 TV broadcast of Friedman’s series Free to Choose for which volume 6 was devoted entirely to promoting ‘educational freedom’ through programs like school vouchers.” — Wikipedia

See also Milton Friedman on Vouchers

Over half a century ago Milton Friedman — in a libertarian-themed attempt to separate taxes for education from government-run schools — suggested the idea of educational vouchers so that tax-money would not flow to public schools with their top-down bureaucracy and politically-mandated curricula. The tax-funded voucher would satisfy the core value stated by those who argue for universal education of children but restore academic freedom by attaching the funding to the student and allowing parents control by the voucher being spendable in a school of the parents’ choice.

Free to Choose
Free to Choose: The Complete Series
(Original 1980’s Edition)

The tax-funded educational voucher could be spent by the parent by enrolling their student in a public school, a charter school, a private school, and even a religious-based school.

Opposition to Dr. Friedman’s proposal has come from four camps:

  • Public-school teachers — particularly tenured teachers — voiced through their unions, who believe that tax-money flowing away from public schools threatens their jobs;
  • Those who want political control of what is taught to students;
  • Those who — like John Dewey — have supported public schools because they’re opposed to religion-based schools — originally Roman Catholic parochial schools in particular, but since the 1960’s Christian schools in general;
  • Libertarians concerned that the attachment of tax-funds to private schools inevitably gives the government the same control over the curriculum of private schools as exists for public schools — so only severing schooling from government entirely will produce a free-market in education.

The political lobbying against school vouchers has come overwhelmingly from teachers’ unions. The second two factions opposing separation of tax funds from public schools comes from liberal organizations, but they’re less broad-based. Libertarians, as usual, are marginal players in mainstream political debates.

What I’m proposing as an alternative to Milton Friedman’s idea may not be original with me.1 I’ve tried Googling this idea to see if it’s been suggested previously — and I emailed it to Milton Friedman’s son, David, and am awaiting his response — but I’ve come up dry so far.

What if — instead of attaching the educational voucher to the student — the educational voucher was attached to the teacher?

Thus, a teacher’s salary, pension, and other benefits would attach not to the school but to the teacher, and both public and private schools would have to compete for the teacher in order to secure that funding.

Teachers could take their vouchers to schools that empower them, rather than having teachers be a pawn in a political power struggle.

From a libertarian standpoint it’s still an imperfect idea — as imperfect by libertarian perfectionist standards as Milton Friedman’s original voucher proposal — but it has the advantage over the original educational voucher that it empowers teachers such that they are no longer dependent on the political power of their union to keep their jobs.

Still, it changes the debate, and with an educational bureaucracy failing by anyone’s standards, a fresh look with new terms of debate can’t be a bad thing.

1A later Google search located a March 21, 2001 Education Week article by Steve Cohen titled, “Maybe We’re Fighting Over The Wrong Vouchers.” Cohen, cited as “the chief executive officer of, an e-learning company based in New York City” (dead web link), suggested giving “schools vouchers to purchase ‘teacher services.'” This keeps the control of education funding with school administrators rather than attaching the funding directly to teachers, to bring where they choose, and is not at all the same suggestion I’m putting forward.

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Osama bin Laden: Was it a Rendition?

“Congratulations to President Obama for his leadership, for his determination, for his commitment of resources, for his making a priority the capture — the apprehension — of Osama bin Laden.”
––House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, (D, CA), CBS News, May 2, 2011

“In my view we very likely would not have captured or killed Osama bin Laden had we not had the intelligence information we had.”
––Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Bill O’Reilly, The O’Reilly Factor, May 4, 2011

I write fiction and drama, and the spy genre has always been one of my favorites to read and watch as movies.

The thing that makes spy stories so good is that the real worlds of intelligence gathering and covert operations make for all sorts of plot misdirection and suspense, because the misdirection and disinformation that are everyday working tools in the world of intelligence is the closest thing you get in the real world to the improbabilities of fiction.

Have I got a doozy of a story for you. This one could be a novel by Ian Fleming, John le Carré, or Robert Ludlum.

Maybe even an episode of Chuck.

Last Sunday night, like so many people, I was watching the climax of The Celebrity Apprentice — waiting to find out if The Donald would finally fire one of the Yentas — when a news crawl announced a forthcoming announcement from President Obama.

Presidents unexpectedly breaking into prime-time TV is, as a general rule, an “Oh, shit.” I was expecting anything from “Guess what? Beijing just invaded Taiwan” to “Guess what? The docs tell me I’ve got aggressive pancreatic cancer and Joe Biden gets sworn in as president on Monday.”

Instead, President Obama got on TV and told us that the United States had located Osama bin Laden’s criminal lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and summarily granted the 9/11 financier’s wish to meet Allah. He told us Osama bin Laden resisted capture and was killed with a double tap to the head. He had been positively identified by facial recognition software and DNA. The United States was in possession of his body. Photographs of Osama bin Laden’s corpse had been taken.

President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton et al watch raid on Osama bin Laden's lair
President Obama, Vice President Biden,
and Secretary of State Clinton et al reportedly
watch raid on Osama bin Laden’s lair

Immediately people spontaneously began gathering outside the White House, at Times Square, and at Ground Zero, to cheer the death of the man whose sneak attack ten years ago began a War on Terror that has put U.S. boots on ground invading foreign lands, given us a Department of Homeland Security and a Patriot Act that denudes the Bill of Rights, and a TSA that fondles little girls taking their first air flight.

A few hours later we learned that the United States was no longer in possession of Osama bin Laden’s body. Within a few hours of his death, Osama bin Laden’s body had been ritually washed by a Muslim seaman on the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, wrapped up, then with Muslim prayers buried in the North Arabian Sea. We were told the entire procedure was videotaped.

Reasons for this swift burial at sea were given by the White House: that Muslim law required burial within 24 hours; that no Muslim country would accept the body; and that the United States did not want there to be a known grave that could become a shrine.

On Wednesday, May 4th, President Obama announced his decision not to release the photos of Osama bin Laden’s body. The reason given: we don’t want to inflame the Muslim world with gruesome photos.

Here’s a given. We’re not going to see the men whose boots were on the ground for this covert operation decorated in a White House ceremony, followed by a news conference. They operate as part of the United States Joint Special Operations Command, and are the United States’ most highly trained, financed, and secretive operatives. They’re reported to be SEAL Team 6 — we don’t even know if that’s fact.

So, bottom line, the most important military raid in United States history since — probably — World War II is classified. The American people have to take the word of the White House about what happened.

Look. I have gone on record as congratulating President Obama for the success of this raid. Osama bin Laden has been on my Better Dead list since he first sent out a videotape crowing about the success of the 9/11 attacks. I’ve never believed any of the crap about bin Laden being a CIA construct, or that the financial elites of the United States would allow the CIA to kill thousands of their employees and turn their own business district into a Hazmat zone. The ultra-rich believe in NIMBY — Not in My Back Yard — more than they believe in the security of their numbered Swiss bank accounts.

But as I’ve said when investigating other things, when something stinks, I sniff.

The White House now tells us Osama bin Laden was unarmed. I don’t believe SEALs shoot unarmed men. I just don’t — especially when the target is the single most valuable intelligence asset in the world.

I don’t buy the reasons for a burial-at-sea — especially since Muslim clerics around the world deny this is a proper Muslim burial. If the object was to comply with Muslim law but make sure there was no known grave site to be a shrine, burying Osama bin Laden in an unmarked and classified grave known only to top-clearance personnel would have satisfied both conditions — and if no other country would accept the body, there was certainly time within the 24-hour deadline beginning at midnight for a supersonic jet to have flown the body for secret burial on U.S. soil.

We add in one more data point: according to a Pakistani intelligence official interviewed by ABC News, Osama bin Laden’s 13-year-old daughter confirms that Osama bin Laden was captured alive; she then claims that her father was executed by the SEALs with the young girl a witness to her father’s death.

Once again, I don’t believe SEALs would do this.

No body, no death photos, and an unarmed target reported as captured alive, then deliberately shot with his family as witnesses.

The CIA and Special Forces are the real Mission Impossible guys. They’re as obvious as Penn and Teller. Misdirection is their breakfast and plausible deniability is their supper.

In my humble opinion this was not an assassination. It was a rendition — possibly the most brilliantly executed rendition in the history of covert warfare.

Osama bin Laden is captured alive.

His capture and execution is staged in front of his family — who are then released to Pakistani authorities — and via satellite to witnesses in the White House Situation Room. Notice President Obama sitting in the back? He knows what’s really going on and doesn’t need a front seat.

Osama bin Laden is drugged and transported covertly to the USS Carl Vinson, where — in the traffic of incoming and outgoing fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters — nobody notices a fighter jet departing to points unknown, while a distraction is created by the burial-at-sea of a body prepared for that purpose.

Then, sometime Monday, Osama bin Laden wakes up in his new residence. It’s probably not as luxurious as the digs Number 6 was given in The Prisoner. But on a 60″ flat-screen HDTV Osama bin Laden gets to watch worldwide coverage of his death. The world has him sleeping with the fishes. There won’t be any hostages taken to exchange for him. The Americans have him and nothing will prevent them from doing to him whatever they like for the rest of his life … a life that will be given the best medical care possible until every last bit of information has been extracted from him by every interrogation method known to man.

This could be pure fantasy. Most conspiracy theories are.

But if it’s true, it’s the greatest unknown spy thriller never written, one which makes Osama bin Laden yearn for death, and — for the former Director of al-Qaeda — one which makes Saw seem like a Disney movie.

Note, May 5, 2011:

“Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, revealed there was a 25 minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.

A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound.

In an interview with PBS, Mr Panetta said: “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.

“We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound.”

–Steven Swinford, The Telegraph

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Oh, Yeah, Josh?

“Shot in Pahrump in 2006 and finally made available years later online, J. Neil Schulman’s Lady Magdalene’s already seems a little dated, with its storyline that relies strongly on references to 9/11 ….”
––Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly, September 8, 2010

Excerpt from Lady Magdalene’s:
The Director of al-Qaeda Speaks
Actors: Mark Gilvary as the Director
and Ethan Keogh as Agent Jack Goldwater

No, we didn’t call the character Osama bin Laden. The writer/director figured he might be captured or killed one day. So the character is called “The Director.” That could be the next guy in line. But what doesn’t date is what The Director has to say, because it’s quoted directly from the writings of Osama bin Laden.

Lady Magdalene's Poster #5
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Movie Word of Mouth

This just received in email from Lady Magdalene’s line producer, Pierre Lorillard:

“Hi Neil, I swear I saw some footage of your show on the ABC news. It was the shot in the cave. I wonder if someone lifted it or you just did a hell of a job with the look. Best…PLL”

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Was Alongside Night Already Made?

Alongside Night Movie Poster #1

It started with a Google alert in my email inbox.

I clicked the link.

It took me to this YouTube Video:

I followed the YouTube link to its destination:
Alongside Night (2012)

– Action | Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
5 stars


Alongside Night is the story of the final economic collapse of the United States as seen through the eyes of 18-year-old Elliot Vreeland…

I don’t know how they did it.

A time machine?

A cross-dimensional gate?

It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to get a copy.

Obviously either a future version of myself, or a version of myself from an alternate time-line, has already made Alongside Night … and if I can just get my hands on it I won’t have to go through all the shit of actually making it!!!!!

Note from J. Neil Schulman: If you click the video at it leads to a sign-up form asking for a credit card. Fearing that giving “them” my credit card may cause a space-time paradox that might destroy the entire universe (or, to quote Doc Brown, the effects might be localized and just destroy our own galaxy) I’ve decided I’d better not. I don’t advise anyone else to submit their own credit-card info, but if you do, be sure to let me know if Alongside Night is any good!

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available as a DVD on and for sale or rental on Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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