Category Archives: scams

A handy timeline on who will pay for the wall

A staff member on the show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” kept this ongoing list of who is going to pay for Trump’s wall.

Interacting with everyday people here in Chicago, during which politics comes up as a topic often, has taught me a few lessons.

  1. Not everyone who voted for Trump is an idiot.
  2. Some of those people had what they thought were very good non-racist reasons for doing so.
  3. The people you often expect to be Clinton, Trump or Sanders supporters from just looking at them will often surprise you.
  4. Many people took Trump at his word because he has been so masterful at painting himself as a guy who does what he says and they thought his bad traits were just for show.

That last one is most important, IMHO.

If you voted for Trump because of #4, then honestly ask yourself: How many promises has he broken? At what point do you have to admit (if you are being honest with yourself) that he is just not the person he said he is, and that he conned you just as he has conned so many other people?

When do you just get mad at what he did to you and so many of his non-rich followers? Or do you just keep up the charade because admitting you were fooled is just too painful?


You, too, can have Trump funny money

I truly hope there is some progressive person or cause secretly behind wringing money from the suckers…er. customers who buy this Trump $2 bill.

  • Completely legal tender!
  • Only 25,000 made!
  • Made in the U.S.A.!
  • Ha! Ha ha HA!

The web site’s fine print says this:

We are not responsible if information made available on this site is not accurate, complete or current. The material on this site is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting primary, more accurate, more complete or more timely sources of information. Any reliance on the material on this site is at your own risk.
This site may contain certain historical information. Historical information, necessarily, is not current and is provided for your reference only. We reserve the right to modify the contents of this site at any time, but we have no obligation to update any information on our site. You agree that it is your responsibility to monitor changes to our site.
And this:
Occasionally there may be information on our site or in the Service that contains typographical errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may relate to product descriptions, pricing, promotions, offers, product shipping charges, transit times and availability. We reserve the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions, and to change or update information or cancel orders if any information in the Service or on any related website is inaccurate at any time without prior notice (including after you have submitted your order).
We undertake no obligation to update, amend or clarify information in the Service or on any related website, including without limitation, pricing information, except as required by law. No specified update or refresh date applied in the Service or on any related website, should be taken to indicate that all information in the Service or on any related website has been modified or updated.
Please, please, puh-LEEZE let the people who are fleecing…er, enticing folks with this AMAZING OFFER — the BEST OFFER! — covertly be black lesbian abortionists.
Because, if there are going to be grifters attached to this shady administration, I’d just as soon they be our grifters.
In a related thought: I really should start a right-wing pro-GOP church which preaches the Prosperity Gospel and then secretly give all the proceeds to Planned Parenthood.

The most slimed candidate in modern history?

It’s a testament to Hillary Clinton’s remarkable strengths that her presidential candidacy has, thus far, been able to withstand the relentless campaign of character assassination which has followed her since her husband entered politics. 

She is easily the most accomplished, capable and qualified presidential candidate in my memory, yet she is still answering to attacks  on her abilities. No man would have had to endure such doubts if his curriculum vitae were similarly packed with stints as stand-out Wellesley and Yale law graduate, her years as a successful practicing attorney, a U.S. senator, Secretary of State, etc.

I include her years as First Lady in those qualifications, keeping in mind also that she would have had a much more central role in her husband’s administration had America’s right-wing not been so adept at painting her as a power-hungry harpy trying to take over a major portion of the American economy.

She wanted to help reign-in our health care mess that continues to this day, but Republicans decided otherwise and began a campaign to portray her as a stereotypical bitchy, man-hating female; portrayals lapped up and regurgitated so relentlessly by the mainstream media that even many women — a demographic which should know better — now believe this cheap rendering of a woman who managed to do all she has done, all while raising a competent, capable and well-adjusted daughter.

This is also in spite of having to live out the nightmare of having your marital problems become GOP scandal fodder, front-page news and the eventual subject of impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill.

Hillary Clinton, at yet another of the GOP-instigated hearings questioning her integrity.
Hillary Clinton, at yet another of the GOP-instigated hearings questioning her integrity.

To add insult to injury, many of these essentially manufactured scandals now follow her in the form of Bernie Sanders supporters doing the right-wing’s job by parroting back these often groundless or simply overblown charges.

Hillary will be indicted! Hillary is untrustworthy! Benghazi! Emails! Email servers! It’s all so ridiculous.

It’s been all the more wearying to watch other progressive people jump so readily on these made-up scandals, becoming willing dupes on social media helped along without doubt by GOP astroturfers and sock puppets galore.

So it should some as no surprise that since Hillary Clinton has rightfully started to hammer Donald Trump on an issue where he could be hurt most — his long history of gross, insulting comments about and toward women — the right-wing has decided to fire back by questioning Mrs. Clinton’s basic bona fides as a strong, independent woman.

One of the ways they are doing this is interviews where Hillary Clinton is to blame for “enabling” BIll Clinton’s marital misadventures. (See video above and below.)

I cannot claim to understand political marriages, including that of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Essentially I consider all of it none of my business, particularly where children are involved. 

But if you are a woman who has ever been done serous wrong by a man, consider how ridiculous it would seem if someone tried to pin that lying, cheating, etc, on you — as primarily being about your character flaws. 

Yet somehow America’s GOP considers this a winning strategy against Hillary Clinton. She has been slimed for so long it just might work, too.

Unbelievable. But just barely so.






Gliniewicz police shooting alleged to be elaborate charade

Gliniewicz police shooting
A scene from the Glinewicz funeral.

The case of the hero cop killed by three unknown assailants with his own weapon takes a final turn that even I did not suspect:

Ending the portrayal of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz as a hero tragically cut down in the line of duty as he neared retirement, authorities on Wednesday said the Fox Lake officer died in a suicide he staged to look like a murder as it became clear he could face consequences for years of alleged theft.

Gliniewicz, 52, shot himself in a “carefully staged suicide” as it became clear that his “extensive criminal acts” could come to light during a review of village finances and practices, said George Filenko, commander of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force. Prosecutors, meanwhile, are continuing to investigate possible crimes by others that were revealed during the probe into the officer’s death.

Gliniewicz ran the village’s Explorer youth police training program and he had been stealing money from it for some seven years, Filenko said. Gliniewicz stole an amount in the five figures and used the money for personal expenses, including mortgage payments, travel and adult websites, Filenko said.

The announcement marked a sharp turn for an investigation that began Sept. 1 with hundreds of officers, as well as dogs and helicopters, searching for suspects who apparently never existed. In the weeks that followed, Lake County authorities downplayed the possibility that Gliniewicz took his own life.

A 30-year veteran and fixture of the lakeside village, Gliniewicz was laid to rest after a funeral attended by thousands, at which he was portrayed as a selfless public servant who gave his life for his community. The lieutenant, a heavily tattooed Army veteran known to many as “G.I. Joe,” mentored many youths through the Explorers, and some observers portrayed his death as evidence of an escalating war on police.

To the contrary, authorities said Wednesday, Gliniewicz staged his suicide as it became clear that he could face repercussions for using the youth program to facilitate his thefts. Text messages Gliniewicz had sent, which authorities revealed Wednesday, appeared to suggest threats against Village Administrator Anne Marrin. Investigators have also seen evidence that Gliniewicz had made contact with a woman linked to the Outlaws motorcycle gang to discuss the possibility of a gang member doing harm to Marrin, said multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation. The interest in harming the official is one of several areas of possible wrongdoing still under investigation, the sources said.

When Gliniewicz was first shot, police officials (and certain Republican politicians) across the country used it as an example of the “war on cops” in spite of the fact that killings of cops on duty are at an all-time low.

OK. I get that. Cops feel any killing of an on-duty cop on a personal level because how could they not?

But as some nagging questions about the Gliniewicz shooting poked their inconvenient heads out, police officials in his city and across the country acted as if merely asking the questions was a blow to the officer’s good memory.

His wife and son — who, it turns out, may have their own reasons for quashing any inquiry into Gliniewicz’s death — protested that all such questions were sullying Gliniewicz’s good name.

It’s all turned out to be seedy and sad.


Snopes update: Pope tablecloth trick edition

snopesCheck out this week’s update from Snopes, the website that keeps the internet honest by looking into rumors, pop legends and deliberate misinformation.

If you look at no other post, look at the one on Ben Carson and the alleged Popeye’s robbery. He is either shameless or mentally unbalanced. And do read the page about Armstrong Williams, his spokesperson. Another huckster.

Now, on to Snopes.

NEWS: Did Dr. Ben Carson say that he has  no idea how gravity works while asserting that climate change is a  hoax ?

FACT CHECK: Did Dr. Ben Carson say that  anatomically, a Muslim’s brain is wired differently than ours ?

FACT CHECK: Does an image show a photograph of Umpqua shooter Chris Harper-Mercer altered by CNN to make him appear white?

FACT CHECK: Was Umpqua Community College a  gun-free zone when nine people were fatally shot there in October 2015?

FACT CHECK: Did a 14-year-old girl become pregnant after receiving a flu shot?

FACT CHECK: Is an image contrasting radically different gun laws and homicide rates in Honduras and Switzerland accurate?

FACT CHECK: Are workplaces banning ham, sausages, and other pork foods because Muslims are offended by them?

Pope Tablecloth snopes
The Pope and a tablecloth: low comedy?

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph depict a school art project titled  candlelight  that yielded unexpectedly suggestive paintings?

FACT CHECK: Does the same crying woman appear in photographs taken at the scenes of massacres in Sandy Hook, Aurora, Boston, and Oregon?

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph capture Albert Einstein playing an electric guitar?

FACT CHECK: Was a man named Dontray Mills convicted of trafficking guns but pardoned by President Obama?

FACT CHECK: Does a video show a shark swimming down a flooded street after heavy rains in West Ocean City, Maryland?

FACT CHECK: Did a man spit in the face of a young Marine holding the door open for him because the American people no longer support the military?

FACT CHECK: Are Donald Trump’s  Make America Great Again  caps manufactured in China?

FACT CHECK: Does Facebook consider military emblems inappropriate and delete them from Facebook pages?

FACT CHECK: Did animals die during flooding at a PetSmart location in South Carolina after employees left them to drown?

FACT CHECK: Has ESPN issued a gag order preventing coaches and players from thanking God on television?

FACT CHECK: Does the United States have the third-highest rate of homicides worldwide, but drops dramatically in the rankings if four major cities are excluded from the stats?

FACT CHECK: Did a study prove that Republicans (primarily supporters of Donald Trump) have weaker grammatical skills than Democrats?

FACT CHECK: Did Mexican drug lord Joaquin  El Chapo  Guzman put a $100 million bounty on Donald Trump s head?

FACT CHECK: Have McDonald s restaurants in Colorado turned their Play Place areas into marijuana-friendly smoking zones?

FACT CHECK: Did a Georgia teen contract HIV while getting a sew-in hair weave?

FACT CHECK: Was Pope Francis filmed performing a tablecloth trick during his visit to the United States?

NEWS: Residents of a condominium complex in Des Plaines, Illinois claimed hot dogs injected with rat poison were scattered on their lawn.

FACT CHECK: Did Muslim refugees outside Macedonia refuse assistance from the Red Cross because the aid packages were marked with the Christian cross symbol? 

FACT CHECK: Did President Obama sign a bill barring the media from naming mass shooting suspects?

FACT CHECK: Was a school shooter in Pearl, Mississippi, stopped by an assistant principal with a gun?

FACT CHECK: Does the smell of a rare mushroom cause women to have spontaneous orgasms?

NEWS: Some pundits are skeptical of Ben Carson’s account of experiencing an armed robbery at a Popeye s restaurant.

FACT CHECK: Did a mandatory gun ownership law in Kennesaw, Georgia, cause the town s crime rate to plummet?

FACT CHECK: Did President Obama open FEMA’s  first  concentration camp in Wilcox, Arizona with plans to detain conservatives? 

So much nuttiness this week. I can’t take it all in.

mushroom orgasm Snopes women spontaneous
I’ll have one order of mushrooms to eat here and 20 to go, please.

Add educational fraud to Donald Trump resume?

As CNN says in this Sept. 29 news report, Trump University looks to have followed a tried and true formula of Donald Trump: start something, wring as much money out of it as he can, and leave others holding the bag.

Notes CNN, “Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Trump University. CNN’s Drew Griffin takes an in-depth look into the lawsuits and what students claimed happened.”

This is not the first time questions have been raised.

It was only last August when the Washington Post ran this article, “Trump University: Why the N.Y. attorney general called it a scam”:

In 2005, the real estate magnate started an initiative that offered seminars in real estate, entrepreneurship and other related subjects and that charged from $1,500 to more than $35,000. It was called Trump University, even though it didn’t actually give out degrees and wasn’t accredited. Trump promised in one ad, “Just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.”

In 2010,  he changed the name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative after the New York State Department of Education sent him a letter, according to the New York Daily News, accusing him of misleading the public by running an unauthorized school. The letter, signed by Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education Joseph Frey, said in part:

“Use of the word ‘university’ by your corporation is misleading and violates New York Education Law and the Rules of the Board of Regents.”

A year later, in 2011, the New York State Attorney General’s Office began investigating the program — which pretty much stopped operating at that point — and in 2013, Schneiderman filed a $40 million civil lawsuit against Trump and the institution, accusing both of charging more than 5,000 people big money to supposedly learn Trump’s successful real estate techniques but failing to deliver. The suit says Trump U — often using high-pressure sales tactics and telling students that the next, more expensive seminar would reveal important secrets — earned about $40 million from students and seeks to the money recovered.

It’s a mystery how this guy manages to fool so many people into thinking he possesses some grand business acumen. He started with Daddy’s money and has left a trail of anger, disappointments and lawsuits with so much of what he has done since.

Yet somehow this is rarely brought up against him in nearly every setting. These should be the questions reporters are dogging him with. 

Better late than never, I guess.

To the list of unforgivable scams one can perpetrate in a society which mark the scammer as amoral — including cheating the elderly and widows — I would like to add the names of people who under false pretenses take money from students who are simply trying to make their lives better through education and leave them with nothing in return.

Donald Trump University CNN fraud


Snopes update: selfie stick assault edition


Check out this week’s update from Snopes, the website that keeps the internet honest by looking into rumors, pop legends and deliberate misinformation.

FACT CHECK: Did a woman stab her boyfriend with a sharpened selfie stick because he didn t like her newest Instagram selfie quickly enough?

FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump say that the  dirtiest  and  thievingist Mexicans come from Puerto Rico?

FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump say that he would have owned Dr. Ben Carson 150 years ago? 

FACT CHECK: Did Ben Carson say slavery was the  best thing that could have happened  to blacks?

FACT CHECK: Are the welfare-gaming claims made in a piece titled  New American Way of Life  accurate?

FACT CHECK: Should parents be aware of a seemingly benign calculator app which enables users to hide photos on phones and tablets?

FACT CHECK: Did President Obama blame Virginia shooter Vester Lee Flanagan s actions on  white privilege ?trump snopes

FACT CHECK: Does Mt. McKinley s former and new name,  Denali,  mean  Black Power  in Kenyan?

FACT CHECK: In 2015 will Halloween fall on Friday the 13th for the first time in 666 years?

NEWS: After American Airlines canceled service from Tel Aviv to Philadelphia, rumors circulated suggesting the carrier wished to mollify Arab business interests.

FACT CHECK: Does Locks of Love sell most donated hair for profit and charge ailing children exorbitant amounts of money for wigs?

FACT CHECK: Did Ann Coulter refer to President Obama as a  retard,  prompting a response from a Special Olympics athlete?

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph show big game hunter Ian Gibson being killed by an elephant?

NEWS: Arby s apologized after receiving reports a police officer was refused service at a location in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

FACT CHECK: Is a Harley Davidson dealership sponsoring a Nation of Islam rally?

GLURGE: A Facebook user reported the glurgeriffic tale of a black police officer voiding his speeding ticket after they shared a moving, harmonious interaction.

FACT CHECK: Does a video show how to tie shoelaces without the use of hands?

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph depict a disabled grocery store bagger who was verbally abused by an angry customer?

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph show President Obama posing next to a mile 69 marker in Alaska?

NEWS: An 11-year-old shot and killed an alleged intruder during a break-in in St. Louis County, Missouri, but neighbors disputed that account.

FACT CHECK: Were four firefighters from Maywood, Illinois sent home from work over the display of an American flag sticker? 

FACT CHECK: Was a tweet sent by journalist Chris Hurst about the death of his girlfriend Alison Parker published before the shooting occurred?


The negative effects of televangelists in one graphic


Prosperity theology. Wikipedia defines it for those who are unfamiliar with it:

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) is a Christian religious doctrine that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will increase one’s material wealth. Based on non-traditional interpretations of the Bible, often with emphasis on the Book of Malachi, the doctrine views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver his promises of security and prosperity. Confessing these promises to be true is perceived as an act of faith, which God will honor.

I added the underlining above. Because that phrase is the most important part. Prosperity theology also happens to be preached most fervently by prosperity gospel televangelists, the most infamous of which is probably Creflo A. Dollar, the perfectly named Atlanta TV preacher most famous for asking on his television program from the stage pulpit of his lavish broadcast center church for his followers to send him money for a $65 million private jet.

Dollar is so brazen in padding his bank accounts from the pockets of his mostly African-American audience that when the media spotlight was concentrated upon him because he so publicly preached about God wanting him to have a new jet, he returned to the televised staged to insist — based on Biblical principles, of course — that his obscene wealth proved that God thinks he is special and he deserved that jet despite the fact that he would be raising the money on the backs of many people who have a hard time feeding their families. “Now you see why the Devil tried so aggressively to discredit my voice,” Dollar told his suckers parishioners of the hail of criticism that rained down upon him even from many religious people when news got out about his asking for money for his $65 million personal taxi on wings preaching tool. Based on the wild cheers of approval from  of his audience, they swallowed it whole.

Now take a look at that graphic at the top of this page. did some research and notes:

Comedian John Oliver took aim at cable televangelists and the ‘gospel of prosperity’ on a recent episode of Last Week Tonight. Using the examples of cancer patients who gave away their meager savings to preachers enjoying trips in church owned private jets to ski lodges, Oliver noted that the American tax code makes running a religious organization a potential source of immense personal wealth. A few church leaders have leveraged their positions at the head of television ministries and megachurches to build large personal fortunes as they preach a religious doctrine which claims that your financial success in this world reflects your standing with God. 

YouGov’s research shows that a large majority of Americans (73%) do not believe that wealth is a sign of God’s favor. Even most born again Christians (56%) disagree with that belief, though born again Christians (24%) are more than twice as likely as the rest of the country (10%) to believe that God favors the wealthy.

Nearly two-thirds of the public (62%) also agree that it is unacceptable for religious leaders to become very wealthy as a result of their religious works, but born again Christians (26%) are nearly twice as likely as all other Americans (16%) to say that this is acceptable. 

18% of Americans believe that prayer can make you wealthier, but born again Christians (38%) are nearly three times as likely as the rest of the population (13%) to believe this. Belief that prayer can improve your health is, however, a much more popular article of faith. 64% of Americans believe in the health benefits of prayer, including 54% of Americans who are not born again Christians. 

But if you look at the lower graphic above, this is where it becomes interesting, though not all that surprising. The groups with the highest percentage of belief in prosperity theology also happen to watch the most religious programming on television. also notes the following:

The American public is split right down the middle on the thorny issue of whether or not religious organizations should be exempt from taxation. 40% of Americans think that they should be exempt, while 40% think that they should not be. There is a strong partisan element to opinion on this issue, though a significant minority among both Republicans and Democrats disagree with the majority opinion of their fellow partisans.

Democrats oppose tax exempt status for religious organizations 52% to 32% while Republicans support it 57% to 25%. Independents are effectively split, with 40% saying that religious organizations should not be tax exempt and 36% saying that they should be. 

Overall, televangelists generally have a poor reputation among the American public. 59% of Americans have unfavorable opinions of preachers and ministers who broadcast on TV, while only 23% have a favorable opinion of them. 

Yet another reason to favor most Democratic candidates over most Republican candidates.

There are groups which are trying to fight televangelism’s preying upon the poor and the ignorant. But they appear to be run, based on my limited research, mostly by white folks.

White people as a whole don’t have the best track record when it comes to looking out for the best interests of people of color. 

The effort to counter the messages of televangelists needs to come from other people of color to be effective.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.

Source: 38% of born again Christians believe prayer can boost your wealth –


This week’s Snopes update


The web site investigates rumors that are bouncing around the internet. Some of the rumors are old. Some were in the news. When the rumors are false, they tend toward the ridiculous end of the spectrum usually involving some right-wing craziness about black helicopters coming to take away their bibles and guns or forcing all of us to submit to microchip implants.

Here are some of the latest. Remember, some of these are not new, but Snopes posts an alert when the page is updated in some way. Have fun informing yourself about the crazy stuff people come up with — or are actually doing.

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph shows two young boys who disappeared from their home in 1920 after discovering a treasure map?

NEWS: The National Cancer Institute reported that cannabis killed cancer cells in preclinical studies.

FACT CHECK: Does a photograph show Michelle Obama sporting a Black Panther shirt?


FACT CHECK: Is Lansing, Michigan, hosting a Ramadan Unity Dinner on 11 September 2015?

FACT CHECK: Do all police cars (marked and unmarked) have  L  as the final letter of their license plates?

SCAM: Survey scam masquerades as a Meijer $100  Back to School” coupon offer.

FACT CHECK: Have scientists discovered whales living in Lake Michigan?

FACT CHECK: Did a federal judge order Brandon High School in Mississippi to remove the hymn  How Great Thou Art from their marching band s halftime show?

FACT CHECK: Did Chelsea Clinton say that she erased her mother Hillary Clinton s e-mails due to postpartum depression?

FACT CHECK: Did Chris Christie say that teachers should make only minimum wage plus bonuses?

FACT CHECK: Was a young girl s Wonder Woman lunchbox described as being too violent  in a school s letter to parents?

FACT CHECK: Did Josh Duggar seek a  brother-sister  type affair on the infidelity-based dating web site Ashley Madison?

FACT CHECK: Did Vice President Joe Biden say that the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

That’s it for this week!


How companies make millions off lead-poisoned poor blacks


Just when you think the financial industry cannot make itself any less respected, along comes this story in the Washington Post:

How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks