Showing posts with label Fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fraud. Show all posts

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sarah Palin is the Original Grifter

Every time Sarah Palin threatens to run for President, an angel in heaven acquires a pair of wings.

The mere fact that ABC News entertained the idea of legitimizing her run for the presidency--which does not exist and could only exist in a fairy tale--should tell you that click bait is the watchword of the day.

She's not running to win; she's running because she needs money. By forming a handful of phony organizations designed to collect money from rubes who think she might actually run, she can open up the spigot on the money that flows from idiots into her pockets.

There ought to be a law against preying on the innocent like this, but there never will be because the grift is permanent, just like Palin's need to keep sucking money from fools.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Jesus Christ Pose of Dinesh D'Souza

I don't recall whether or not Martin Luther King Jr. ever broke the campaign finance laws of the country in order to enrich himself, but Dinesh D'Souza is exactly right to compare himself to one of the great men of history.

Look at me! Look at me! I'm just like someone Americans love and admire, except I'm a convicted felon who stole moneys and blamed it on the President of the United States because of my persecution complex!

The only thing worse than Dinesh D'Souza is blogging about Dinesh D'Souza...


Expertise is Just Another Word For Bullshit

This confirms an old bias of mine:

Study after study has shown that people enjoy a wine more the more the pay for it. If someone believes a wine to be of high quality—if they view its producer as truly high-end—it ends up tasting better to them. “Marketers cannot assume,” the authors of one 2008 study in the Journal of Wine Economics wrote, “that intrinsic product attributes, even when experienced, will be weighted and interpreted accurately by consumers.” Since price is a strong predictor of enjoyment, one could make the argument that the wine industry is actually set up according to a certain logic: People pay more to buy the products they end up enjoying more.For most of the 20th century, California’s vineyards were viewed as inferior to Europe’s.

A drinker's preconceptions, as those wine economists noted, shape his or her experience. In a 2001 study that is so outrageous as to appear apocryphal, all 54 tasters—some of them professed experts—were fooled into thinking that a white wine was actually red. All it took to dupe them was a few drops of red food-coloring, which were used to make one of the two glasses of the same white wine take on a different tint. (That finding is not as dispiriting as one wine journal's 2009 paper that found that one in four subjects preferred dog food to some pâtés—but it’s close.)

In other words, the expertise of snooty people is revealed to be a game of bullshit. How this can be expanded to understand the mystique wrapped in the cloak of bullshit that's behind the Pono music player, vinyl records and vintage guitars is one for the scholars to work out.

I have always been skeptical of people who push things in your face because they are authorities and experts. Really? And how do you reconcile that with the fact that independent verification usually reveals expertise to be nonexistent?

Oh, and don't get me started on Baby Boomers, man.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Day America Will Die

This is what landed in my in-box this morning, courtesy of the Washington Times.

"The Day America Will Die."

"Bloody Wednesday."

"The fallout of this historic event will be horrific for the unprepared."


Now, the Moonie Times is a reliably conservative rag. You can't get the news out of them for any amount of trying, but you can get fear mongering and nonsense. You can get endless ads and garbage. How do they survive? What happens when the Moonie money runs out?

The real villains are the clowns at Weiss Research. They paid the Moonie Times for the right to deliver this to people and to spread their irresponsible and hysterical fear-mongering.

This is pretty much all you need to know about Weiss Research, courtesy of the Securities and Exchange Commission. For sophisticated investors, it is easy to dismiss their outlandish claims. For not so savvy people, and you have to wonder how many of them have also been duped by the Moonie Times, how does this not equal predatory advertising and illegally trying to influence events through scare mongering?

Shouldn't we identify such firms? Why are they allowed to practice their trade in this country? And why doesn't the blowback hit the people at the Moonie Times who take money from such firms in exchange for SPAM e-mailing people? It's amazing what people think they can get away with.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Another Stolen Valor Douchebag

Sean Yetman

Here's an example of stolen valor:

A Philadelphia man apparently likes dressing up in uniforms.

Last week, he was wearing Army fatigues at the Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown when he was confronted by an Army veteran who suspected that the man never served in the military. The veteran of Afghanistan who lives in Northampton posted the video of the confrontation on YouTube and it has since generated more than 2.8 million views and incensed military families nationwide.

Back in 2003, his uniform of choice was a police coat.

The now 30-year-old Sean Yetman was arrested while wearing the coat of a Philadelphia officer who died in the line of duty. He pleaded guilty in Bucks County Court in May of that year to impersonating a public servant, a second-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to three months of probation for that crime along with a summary offense of driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to online court records.

Anyone who wears their uniform to the mall is automatically suspect, so I can understand why Mr. Berk (who films the video at the link) questioned Yetman. When I was in the Army, they flat-out told us not to wear the "work" uniform in public places, especially when shopping, and this was in San Antonio, Texas before 9/11.

Yetman stumbles through the questions, trying to pass himself off as "somebody." This is a sad young man who's never done anything and has nothing happening in his life. He has dressed up in a military uniform in order to gain some sort of self respect. He welcomes engagement in a lonely, pathetic manner, hoping he can pass himself off as a Veteran with combat awards on his chest.

There really is no way to separate the stealing of valor from free speech, however. Yetman has the free speech right to wear a uniform so long as he is not breaking the law, which, in this case, would be to show up somewhere and actually try to perform as a member of the military. He is not trying to enter a military facility. He's shopping and he wants to chat with people. There's quite a bit more to it than that, however.

Civilian and military authorities are looking into whether Yetman sought or received military discounts while at the mall on Black Friday or if he violated a state law that forbids the unauthorized wearing of military decorations.

Falsely claiming to be a member of the military is not illegal, but under the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, it’s against federal law for an individual to fraudulently portray him or herself as a recipient of any of several specified military decorations or medals with the intent to obtain money, property or other “tangible” benefit.

Surplus military uniforms, fatigues and other items, including badges, are available for sale in Army Navy stores, and online. But Nurnberg said that if a military service member wants to give away a uniform, he or she must remove the “U.S. Army” identification badge above the left pocket. That identification marker appears on the uniform Yetman is wearing in the YouTube video, he added.

Under Pennsylvania law it is a summary offense to wear a uniform, decoration insignia or other distinctive emblems of any branch of the armed forces of the United States for the purpose of obtaining aid, profit or while soliciting contributions or subscriptions. It is also a summary offense to, without authority, knowingly wear, exhibit, display or use for any purpose any military or veteran insignia.

Also, it is a third-degree misdemeanor in the state if a person, without authority, purchases, sells, offers for sale or accepts as a “pledge or pawn,” any medal, insignia or decoration granted for service in the armed forces.

On Wednesday, Bucks County’s chief of prosecutions, Matt Weintraub, said that in order to pursue the misdemeanor offense involving military decorations, authorities would need to prove that Yetman purchased the CIB badges in Pennsylvania and without authority.

I do think that his wearing of three Combat Infantryman Badges is especially troubling. Yetman would have had to be at least forty-five years old or more in order to qualify. He is also trying to pass himself off as being currently assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment. I don't know how many 300lb soldiers they have in that unit, so, you know. I doubt very much if Yetman would have even been questioned if he had been wearing no decorations or badges and the unit patch of the 28th Division. That's the hard truth about service in the military.

Yetman is attempting to perform his fraud by presenting himself as a mid-career NCO from a specialized Army unit on active duty. There are elite soldiers in every aspect of the Army and you can tell by how they carry themselves. There is a myth about Special Forces and other such units that says that everyone else in the Army is a widebody slapface who can't do anything right. That's inherently wrong.

Yetman stands out because he pretended to know the narrative of what a soldier would know and was caught red-handed in a phony story about himself right off the bat. In our midst is a failure or a young man who has no idea how to turn his life around and gain some self respect. The culture must be terrifying for such an individual, especially since we disregard people in uniform and treat soldiers so poorly.

News flash, asshole. This country treats Veterans poorly. No one blinks twice when neglected Veterans turn up all over the place. Why did he think pretending to be one would earn him anything beyond being mocked and humiliated in a chance encounter with someone who knew what a soldier is supposed to look like?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Only 25 Kids?

Did you think Idiocracy was a documentary? I know, me too!

A Memphis man with at least 25 kids by 15 different mothers is at it again.

More women claim he’s fathered children, and he’s still not paying up.

We first told you about Terry Turnage two years ago.

They called him the worst deadbeat dad ever. As we’ve found out since then, he’s wanted in another state by more women.

“Everybody tells me, ‘What you doing talking to him? How you didn’t know he had all these kids?’ Uh duh, I’ve been in school. I wasn’t out like that,” 22-year-old Paula Stewart said.

Stewart says she now knows the father of her 2-year-old son is the father of many.

Turnage shows up in court in rags, but around Forrest City, he’s known as the flashy club owner that drives fancy cars and goes by the name TYB. Those who know Turnage say it stands for ‘Take your B—-!’

Miesha Davis said she found out about Turnage when she called the Forrest City child support office.

“When I called. She was like, ‘Who?’ I said Terry T. Turnage. She was like, ‘He’s famous,’” Davis said.

That's not the good kind of famous, by the way. That's small town baby daddy fame.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Small Town Corruption

Please explain to me how it is that Sheriff Bob Kindler is not under some sort of scrutiny or investigation for what happened here. He's probably smart enough to keep his hands clean, but all it would take would be a warrant to see if there was any communication between him or the person who started this mess. What happened to being able to face your accuser?

How is it that the accuser isn't named or identified? Would that instantly mean an unraveling of what went on? Or was this someone completely unconnected to the Sheriff's department who wanted to embarrass the accused and mess with his life?

How is it that, "mere hours" after filing to run for Sheriff that Dale Glazier ended up taking a couple of months off? Thank God the man was paid for his trouble. And if I were him, I wouldn't drive anywhere without looking under my car for a puddle of brake fluid.

Jeebus, these small town people. They think they can get away with anything.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Everyone is Perfect in This Failed Agency

Of course they're perfect--why wouldn't they be?

No matter what you call it -- bonuses, incentives, market or performance pay -- the Department of Veterans Affairs gave out a lot to senior managers in recent years despite sometimes deadly waits for health care and other problems faced by American veterans.

A top VA official confirmed to a congressional committee on Friday that 78% of VA senior managers qualified for extra pay or other compensation in fiscal year 2013 by receiving ratings of "outstanding" or "exceeds fully successful," and that all 470 of them got ratings of "fully successful" or better.

Such widespread laudatory performance appraisals occurred shortly before CNN started reporting in November how veterans waited excessive periods for VA health care, with some dying in the process. The VA has acknowledged 23 deaths nationwide due to delayed care.

This has another name--institutionalized mediocrity. No on at the VA should get a bonus for another two years, if at all. Let this drive the people who place money over service from the agency; everyone who rises through merit and competence should be rewarded with a bonus for being part of the solution.

If all 470 of the people at this level in the Department of Veterans Affairs are that good, then the VA should be the most successful agency in the entire government. Or, if not, then it is an agency rife with corruption and incompetence that has gone undiscovered because of flawed leadership.

Fire them all. See if that fixes anything.

I've said it before--this wasn't about being embarrassed because a few old vets were waiting to see specialists. This was widespread fraud, plain and simple, driven by greed. These administrators covered up bad numbers everywhere so they could lavish bonuses on each other.

Fire. All. of. Them.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Train Wreck in South Dakota

Oh, dang:

A candidate who finished fourth in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in South Dakota was charged on Wednesday with violating campaign election laws, prosecutors said.

Annette Bosworth, 42, a doctor from Sioux Falls, was charged with six counts each of perjury and filing false documents and accused of falsely claiming she was gathering nominating petition signatures in South Dakota when she was really in the Philippines, the South Dakota Attorney General's Office said.

This is the candidate who found out she lost when Megyn Kelly blurted it out to her on live television. Nothing stings like that, nothing. Here we find out that Bosworth was as incompetent at disclosing where she was on legal documents as she was at keeping her business afloat. Funny thing about the Senate--they're only occasionally taking failures.

That deer in the headlights stare didn't help, apparently. Bosworth needs to find a new line of work, and fast. I'm sure that the Koch brothers or the Heritage Foundation would love to hire her as a medical expert.

Politics is the new racket, my friends.That's where the cash is.

Friday, May 30, 2014

And That's Not the End of It

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan..."

Shinseki is gone:

In the end, even Eric Shinseki knew he had to go, President Barack Obama said Friday in announcing the resignation of his only Veterans Affairs secretary over a growing scandal involving sometimes deadly waits for care at VA hospitals.

Obama went before reporters shortly after meeting with Shinseki at the White House and said the retired Army general told him that "the VA needs new leadership" to address the widespread problems chronicled in new reports this week, adding that Shinseki "does not want to be a distraction" to fixing the situation.

"That was Ric's judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans, and I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem," Obama said.

When the boss has to leave under a black cloud, it sends a clear message to the underlings--you're next. The reason why it makes sense for Shinseki to leave is because the greedy, incompetent administrators below him need to be washed out of the VA like the fleas and lice they are, clinging to their bonuses and their schemes to profit personally while failing America's burgeoning corps of Veterans.

That's why I called for him to quit or be fired--there's no other way to remove the terrible, terrible management below Shinseki's level at VA. Someone new, someone tough, and someone with a clear mandate to remove incompetence and fraud from the ranks has to be empowered to do so. Shinseki was not that man anymore.

I would think that many of those engaged in malfeasance would have the decency to retire or quit in the weeks ahead. Many of them won't. They will cling to their lifestyle and continue to do nothing to take care of Veterans. They will continue to ride out the clock. They should not collect any more bonuses, however, and every administrator paid a bonus over the last ten years who presided over a hospital with secret wait lists and things of that nature should be prosecuted for fraud. Their bonuses should be paid back and their retirement benefits should be irretrievably revoked.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs is about benefits, after all. I don't think anyone who screwed Veterans and got paid should be able to retire on a comfortable pension and with full health care. I think that they should be cast out into the real world where so many dying and sick and Veterans have lived since coming back from Vietnam and wherever else. They have had no safety net. They have seen the promises made to them turn into a blizzard of paperwork, crushed under the heels of people who don't care about them while making three figure salaries, getting eight weeks off a year, and being paid ridiculously inflated personal performance bonuses.

To them I would say, welcome to the reality you were charged with improving. Screw you. You're on your own.

This does not end with Shinseki. This ends when the frauds and the thieves who cost this man his job are scrambling to find someone to take care of them while they cope with the aftermath of their personal pity party. This ends when a former bigwig administrator from the Phoenix VA Hospital has to use Coinstar to pay for meds at a discount grocery store in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Edward Snowden's Delusions of Adequacy

The fact that runs counter to everything that has been said about Edward Snowden is this one--he's not dead. No one has assassinated him. No one has shot him behind the ear. No one has given him poison. He's alive and flush with cash, somewhere in Mother Russia.

Secretary of State Kerry is absolutely right--Snowden should "man up" and face American justice. If his contention is that the American people need to know what their government is doing, his efforts should include making everything about the rule of law and not simply about the leaking and bragging he has done so far.

The problem is, Snowden knows that he likely stole military secrets and gave them to foreign governments in exchange for money, access, or security. He knows he successfully conned others into believing he actually cared about privacy because that is the veil he decided to hide behind. But his most recent interview betrays all of that--he was someone who wanted to BE SOMEONE rather than just do something. He has inflated his resume in order to improve his standing with his foreign handlers. That's what megalomaniacs prefer, especially on their Twitter feeds.

Clearly, there have been doubts as to his ability. Deception? Sure. He is very good at lying to people. Everything else? Not so much for this systems administrator gone rogue. It is quite common for people to travel under some kind of cover or with some measure of identity protection when they work for the United States government. That's not spying. That's force protection.

Snowden remains the greatest fraud of the decade so far.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Shocking Truth About James O'Keefe

James O'Keefe has, once again, failed to accomplish anything other than annoying some people who actually work for a living.

Tell me again how this smarmy, useless excuse for a human being still gets scads of press and attention while failing every single time he tries to carry out a cheap and incompetent selective editing assignment?

No fraud in the history of this country has ever had more attention than this clown. Conservative media, you own O'Keefe, and what's shocking is that he is still ringing the bell and they're still lapping up everything he does. It's as if him playing around with a rape kit and sex toys was just a mild, juvenile prank to these people.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Only Sarah Palin Can Save America From Obamacare

Someone has to save us from Obamacare because it's working:

“Evan knows Obamacare is a mess,” said an ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which blamed the law for lost jobs, dropped coverage and high premiums. An ad from the group Americans for Prosperity, backed by the conservative billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch, denounced Mr. Rahall for supporting the law, saying it was “going to hurt a lot of people.”

Many professionals here dispute such claims. “It’s working, and you can show it’s working,” Dr. Becker said.

He and other health care advocates call West Virginia a national success story in terms of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to more of the working poor. While 24 states have refused to expand Medicaid to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,850 for a family of four, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, decided over Republican objections that the state — with a population older and sicker than the national average — would do so.

Nationwide, more people have signed up for private plans than for Medicaid, but the results are the opposite in West Virginia, where about 15 percent of residents — 270,000 of 1.8 million — lacked insurance when the law took effect. Initial sign-ups for Medicaid, about 115,000 since Oct. 1, are nearly double what actuaries projected, and roughly five times the number of people believed to have bought private plans from the one insurer in West Virginia’s marketplace, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people enrolled in private coverage, fewer than predicted.

When she's not baptizing terrorists, perhaps President Palin can end Obamacare and make it so the American people can be free. It is worth noting (nothing?) that John McCain and Palin won West Virginia by 13 points in 2008. At this rate, West Virginia will vote for a Democrat when Hell's frozen over, thanks to the efforts of Republicans who cannot help but to trash each and every government program that is actually a success.

This thing called Affordable Care Act cannot be allowed to succeed. This represents a massive shift in public policy that won't be undone, ever, because it will eliminate the conservative argument against carrying out complex reforms that help the American people. Sarah Palin is the only person dumb enough to win the Presidency and then convince people to stop Obamacare. When she wins in 2016, all your futures will belong to her and so will your healthcare exchange card.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Claw Machine Should Be Banned Forever

I have always hated claw machines, and so I'm glad to see someone finally took a little revenge upon the damned thing.

Claw machines are those ridiculous boxes that hold worthless prizes; you maneuver a claw into place and it drops and "retrieves" what you've settled upon. The only problem is, the claw is useless and it takes a lot of luck to actually win. As the kids say, the hells with that.

These things are a ripoff. They should be banned. End of story.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Herbalife Has Always Been a Ponzi Scheme

Whoa, now you tell me:

The FBI is investigating Herbalife Ltd., the nutrition and weight loss company that hedge fund manager William Ackman has called a pyramid scheme, sources familiar with the investigation said Friday.

The news, first reported by the Financial Times, sent the company's stock price down nearly 14 percent.

My first exposure to Herbalife came 25 years ago. We had relatives who used it and sold it. At one point, they suggested it as a replacement for actual cancer fighting medications.

Yes, as a replacement.

In any event, Herbalife is no different than Amway or whatever crap you get roped into selling. It's always been a Ponzi scheme. If it wasn't a Ponzi scheme, it wouldn't have distributors and sellers and people GODDAMNED DESPERATE to get you to buy it so they can climb one rung higher and breathe a little easier before the whole thing crashes down around them.

It's basically just repackaged edible bullshit. That's all. At this rate, it'll be 2089 before the FBI figures out that Scientology is a cult.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Keating Five

Charles Keating was a notorious figure in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He's dead now, and I wonder if everyone got their money back. No?

His name was synonymous with greed and excess. The Eighties were the decade of such things, and Keating was one of the drivers of the bus that went over the cliff when the bill came due.

This, by the way, is bullshit:

The scandal also shook the political world. Five senators who received campaign donations from Keating - McCain, Democrat Alan Cranston of California, Democrat John Glenn of Ohio, Democrat Donald W. Riegel Jr. of Michigan and Democrat Dennis DeConcini of Arizona - were accused of impropriety for appealing to regulators on Keating's behalf in 1987.

Our working media gave him a pass and let him drift off into obscurity. He left a trail of slime through the courts, using lawyers to duck accountability for at least a decade after being exposed as a fraud. The scandal that broke around the so-called "Keating Five" should have ended the corrupt and vainglorious warmongering of one Senator John McCain, but it didn't and he was given the biggest mulligan anyone in politics ever got. He was also given a major pass by the amnesiac media when he ran for President and by an establishment that simply didn't give a shit about accountability anymore.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sovereign Citizens Stole My House

Not that there's a miniseries or a TV show in something like this, but there probably is:

A Georgia judge didn’t mince words when he sentenced two “sovereign citizens” who illegally attempted to use frivolous court filings and squatting to take possession of homes.

Their actions “were nothing but thievery and burglary,” Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole told Susan Lorraine Weidman, 52, of Kennesaw, Ga., and co-defendant Matthew Lowery, 29, of Alpharetta, Ga., at sentencing hearings last Friday, the Marietta Daily Journal reported.

“This was no experiment,” the judge said. “You had folks breaking into houses, changing the locks and outright thieving. It was just incredulous to me that a citizen could think she could get away with this.”

The sovereign citizen movement is a blight upon the rule of law. In this case, the woman pictured above made up the law, made up a lawyer, and tried to represent herself as having some understanding of the legal process. All she ended up with was a bunch of changed locks and a couple of decades in prison.

Modern television thrives on depictions of dark, desperate people who break the law. Half the decent shows on TV are exactly that sort of thing and the rest are just lame comedies. You could do a whole show around a woman whose kids and lovers and friends just steal shit by filing bogus legal papers. Give me a call, HBO.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Liz Wahl is as Brave as Any Phony Out There

The sheer phoniness of Liz Wahl's on-air resignation doesn't seem to be getting much play.

Then there's this from James Kirchick's story:

Wahl initially reached out to me in August, after I launched my own impromptu protest on RT against Putin’s homophobic repression. Wahl felt morally compromised working for the network, she told me, but wasn’t yet prepared to quit.

When did Miss Wahl figure out that she needed to be an ethical person in order to remain marketable in the television field? Her best photos seem to be other there, and people are falling all over themselves to praise her for sticking it to Putin. The problem is, I can't believe she didn't know what this regime was like a year ago, two years ago, ten years ago. The Russians are not experiencing anything resembling democracy and the rule of law died in Russia before it was ever established in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union.

What part of Putin's plan to be dictator for life did she miss? What part of the widespread killing of journalists did she fail to note?

I say she's a fraud.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Embarrassment That Is Thomas Friedman

How is it that this even made it past an editor? Does Thomas Friedman even submit his work to an editor anymore? How embarrassing:

With Russia growling over the downfall of its ally running Ukraine and still protecting its murderous ally running Syria, there is much talk that we’re returning to the Cold War — and that the Obama team is not up to defending our interests or friends. I beg to differ. I don’t think the Cold War is back; today’s geopolitics are actually so much more interesting than that. And I also don’t think President Obama’s caution is entirely misplaced.

The Cold War was a unique event that pitted two global ideologies, two global superpowers, each with globe-spanning nuclear arsenals and broad alliances behind them. Indeed, the world was divided into a chessboard of red and black, and who controlled each square mattered to each side’s sense of security, well-being and power. It was also a zero-sum game, in which every gain for the Soviet Union and its allies was a loss for the West and NATO, and vice versa.

That game is over. We won. What we have today is the combination of an older game and a newer game. The biggest geopolitical divide in the world today “is between those countries who want their states to be powerful and those countries who want their people to be prosperous,” argues Michael Mandelbaum, professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins.

You are not going to read three lazier paragraphs than that on a major newspaper's editorial page. 

In the first paragraph, Friedman falls over the phrase "there is much talk" and doesn't identify the source of the talk. In almost every single case, it is the talk of neoconservatives who constantly bray for war. We'd be in five wars right now if it wasn't for the fact that we have a President who ignores a lot of this "talk" and concentrates on creating stable relations and not starting new wars. In the second paragraph, we are treated to a simplistic version of History 101. And, in the third, Friedman phones it in because he can't be bothered to make a more trite statement about basic human ambition than the professor.

If Russia sends troops into Ukraine, there's almost nothing that anyone can do. Ukraine is within the sphere of influence of Russia and an introduction of troops would challenge the nationalism inherent in everything Vladimir Putin does. Friedman sucks his thumb and tries to balance the crazy talk against pragmatism. The only leverage anyone has is with money and the Russians are calculating the costs of sending troops into Kiev in order to restore a friendly government.

How the New York Times ends up paying Friedman for his analysis is the question of the age. What is the value of an opinion so childlike and obvious? Is it the substance or is it simply about a brand that is practically worthless to anyone who can think rationally?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chris Christie Knew and He Lied About It

I don't think the 2016 Presidential Race matters right now. What matters is whether or not Chris Christie will still be in politics a month from now. A week from now. I mean, holy crap.

He knew.

Chris Christie knew and he lied about it and David Wildstein is ready to squeal like the archetypal stool pigeon.

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., knew about the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening, the former Port Authority official who oversaw the closings said Friday, adding that he has the evidence to prove it,the New York Times reports.

The attorney for David Wildstein, who was appointed by Christie to the Port Authority and later resigned after the scandal broke, said in a letter released that "evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference."

“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” the letter added, according to the Times.

Christie explicitly said during the Jan. 9 news conference that he had "no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution" and said he didn't know that anyone on his staff was involved in the closings until the day before.

Plenty of liars get elected President. Plenty of liars keep their jobs. Chris Christie shouldn't be one of them.