Tag Archives: Scams

What Is The Point Of Fake News?

Okay, internet: someone please explain to me the purpose/goals of these fake news sites which proliferate across the internet, peddling stories that are just … well, wrong. They’re not even satire, they’re just stupid. Why do they exist?

I’m talking about ones like this fake NBC site, with the enticing URL “nbc.com.co” that makes some bleary-eyed folks think it’s the real NBC.com. Recently this site stymied a lot of folks who should have known better by claiming the band “Survivor” was suing Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee over their song “Eye of the Tiger.” I see shit like this on peoples’ timelines and I just want to go nuts. These stories aren’t real! You look like an asshole for spreading them!

The fake news site National Report is another one. I’ve also seen fake New York Times urls.

These sites look real, and the misinformation goes viral as people who have been duped into thinking the news is real spread the false word via Facebook and Twitter. The stories have enticing headlines: “Christian Pastor In Vermont Sentenced To One Year In Prison After Refusing To Marry Gay Couple,” and “JetBlue To Begin Weighing Passengers” — stuff designed to gin up outrage and increase the viral hits. But they aren’t funny, they aren’t clever, they aren’t even satire. They’re just bullshit. And there are no ads on these sites, so what’s the fucking point?

Can anyone answer this question? Why? Just to fuck with people? To be mean? I don’t get it.

And why hasn’t the real NBC.com sued?

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Filed under internet, media, media manipulation

Suckers

I know Christians like to think they’re better than everyone else, at least the ones around here do. But is there some evidence that they’re healthier than anyone else? If there is I sure haven’t seen it. But Kentucky is poised to pass a “Christians-only” healthcare plan that singles out Jesus people:

House Oks Christian health care plan for Ky.

[…]

The proposal would exempt the Medi-Share ministry from state insurance regulations. A Franklin County circuit judge ordered the ministry to shut down last year at the Kentucky Insurance Department’s request. The bill in its current form would require members to sign a notice acknowledging they’re aware they may not have their claims paid.

The plan resembles secular insurance in some ways but only allows participation by people who pledge to live Christian lives with no smoking, drinking, using drugs or having sex outside of marriage.

Whew boy. First of all, this just reeks of a scam to me. Hey, let’s give insurance companies another reason to deny people claims! You missed Bible study on Wednesday! No bypass surgery for YOU! And let me say, the idea that people who don’t drink or smoke or have sex outside of marriage or use drugs are living a “Christian lifestyle” is just hilarious. Why not have a health care plan for vegans and exempt them from state insurance regulations? Seems like there’s actual evidence that a vegan diet is healthier than the gravy-slathered deep-fried fat balls most good Southern Christian folk I know shove done their gullets on Sundays.

But look, the whole dang point of being a Christian is not that you’re somehow better than everyone else and living a perfect, sinless life so you get the earthly reward of cheap health insurance. That’s not what the freaking Bible is about, people! It’s about a relationship with God. It’s about things like forgiveness and community building and welcoming your neighbor and caring for the vulnerable.

It’s not about being perfect and if you stumble you don’t get your insurance claim paid, and we get to do the personal responsibility happy dance.

Cripes I’m so over Jesus people these days. This just screams exploitation and grift to me. The marriage of faith and commerce is absolutely antithetical to real Christianity. Any sucker signing up for this is asking to get ripped off.

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Filed under Christianity, health insurance, healthcare

Grifters Gotta Grift

This whole FreedomWorks/Tea Party scam reeks worse than a 40,000-pound whale carcas rotting on a Malibu beach. How long before a little forensic accounting lands some FreedomWorks mucky muck in jail? And will one of his cellmates be from Tennessee?

A lawyer in Tennessee who is mysteriously linked to millions of dollars in campaign contributions steered to congressional candidates doubled his investments in the weeks before Election Day and quietly funneled $6.8 million more to a prominent Tea Party group, according to new financial statements filed with the government.

William Rose of Knoxville previously said his business was a “family secret” and he was not obligated to disclose the origin of what now amounts to more than $12 million that he routed through two companies he recently created. Rose did not immediately return phone calls from the Associated Press on Friday.

The money went to the Tea Party’s most prominent Super PAC, FreedomWorks for America, which spent it on high-profile congressional races. The $12 million accounted for most of the $20 million the group raised this year.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. The all-powerful Tea Party group FreedomWorks got most of their money from one secretive East Tennessee guy this year? And do we think he raised that money by selling brownies and magazine subscriptions door to door? Hell, no. This is a handful of bazillionaire corporate hedge fund and banking guys calling their Tennessee lawyer buddy up to create some shell corporations so they can launder the funds through a now legal entity and buy a house or senate seat or two (or three, or four…). Wake up and smell the plutocracy, people.

Of course, there is no indication that anything illegal happened (yet). But take it from me, when you’re dealing with sums of money this large, and it’s the balance of power in Washington at stake, and you’ve got a man who says “his family business is a secret,” and then the FreedomWorks chairman abruptly resigns while accusing the group’s president Matt Kibbe of “misappropriating FreedomWorks resources for his own personal benefit” … well, all I can say is, grab the popcorn. Something sure is rotten somewhere in this mess. It might take an army of pointy-headed pencil pushers to find it but it defies belief that there isn’t a scam under this manure pile.

You know what the funniest part about all of this is? That money was wasted. It went toward defeating House candidates like Tammy Duckworth and Senate candidates like Joe Donnelly. And it was all for nought. Well, except for Dick Armey, who leaves FreedomWorks with an $8 million golden parachute.

I’m trying to think of any aspect of the Tea Party that hasn’t been sullied with the whiff of grift. Did you hear about the Dick Morris-Newsmax grift? That’s hilarious. And then there was the Tea Party TV Network grift, and let’s not forget the Sarah Palin Summer Holiday Bus Tour de Grift.

But the FreedomWorks grift is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Because this wasn’t fleecing the gullible rubes over at WingNut Daily. This was fleecing Daddy Warbucks, stealing from the people who have been in charge. These are not people who spend $12 million and have nothing to show for it on the other end but prying phone calls from Associated Press reporters. And you just knew that was gonna happen, didn’t you?

Things at the country club are going to be mighty awkward. I wonder who the first plutocrat to get thrown under the bus will be?

As I said, grab the popcorn and take your seats. This show is just getting started.

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Filed under Dick Armey, scam, Tea Party, Tennessee

Can We Stop This Scam?

Tell me if you’ve received one of these phone calls:

Credit Card Services Scam

I get these calls several times a month, despite being on the “Do No Call” registry. Every time they call it’s from a different phone number, sometimes local, sometimes not. Once the name that showed on caller ID was “Michael Kors” — you know, the fashion designer from “Project Runway”? Took me a while to figure that one out, but I gleaned they had scammed the phone number from a new Michael Kors retail store that was going in to an upscale shopping mall in town.

If they call and I pick up, the message you hear is, “there are currently no problems with your account.” But of course if you don’t pick up, what gets recorded is clipped into “currently with your account” and, “it is URGENT that you contact us …”

The first few times I got these I thought it was my credit card company calling me about an issue with my account.

If you want to lodge a complaint about a “Do Not Call” registry violation, you have to have the company’s name and mailing adress. Which, if you’ve ever actually tried to talk to one of these scammers, you never get. One rookie operator let it slip that they were working out of Orlando, Florida. I’ve since learned that the company’s name is Leverage Connections. This is indeed a sleazy, scammy, spammy company. They’ve been doing this for years, telling people they can lower their interest rates, then charging people hundreds and even thousands of dollars for nothing. It’s time for this to stop.

I’ve filed complaints with the FCC but since this has been going on for years, I’m guessing no one in our regulatory agencies has the time to deal with a bunch of fraudsters ripping people off.

I’m no lawyer but any credit card company doing business with Leverage Communications is participating in fraud, near as I can tell. Since the FCC and FTC seem powerless to stop this harassment, maybe we can pressure the credit card companies? I mean really, how hard can it be to shut these shady operators down?

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Filed under banks, FCC, scam