In a new essay, Douglas Rushkoff examines Universal Basic Income, writing that it's not a gift but a "scam" and a "tool for our further enslavement."
Here's a snippet:
To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.
Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.
...As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It’s the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they’ve sexually harassed. It’s hush money.
Read: Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
photo by photosteve101 Read the rest
Victims of the Trump University con were roped in by an initial free class endorsed by "the most celebrated entrepreneur on earth" that would, in Trump's words, "turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you." Read the rest
Over the weekend, the mother of Lupita Gonzalez heard from a family member in Shafter, California who was concerned that Lupita had died. Apparently, the person had spotted a donation jar emblazoned with Lupita's photo and a request to help send the woman's remains back to Mexico for burial. Lupita is just fine and lives in the next town over.
The photo had been grabbed from Gonzalez's Facebook page and taped to at least three jars placed on store countertops.
"It's a scary feeling," Gonzalez said.
Bakersfield Now reports that the "jars had a sob story about a girl named 'Enriquetta Nunez' who had died and whose family needed money to bring her remains back to Mexico."
Police are investigating. Read the rest
Pissedconsumer has noticed that a bunch of "reputation management" companies are filing lawsuits to get anonymous customer complaints removed, and very quickly identifying the anonymous posters, who swear affidavits okaying the removal of their complaints. Read the rest
Audrey Elaine Elrod was divorced, depressed and broke when a romance-scammer targeted her on Facebook, posing as a widowed Scottish oil-rig worker who admired her photo and sympathized with her plight. Read the rest
This tale of how Mike Bobrinskoy turned the tables on an OKCupid scammer named "Alexandra" is well worth the 9 minutes it takes to watch or listen. Read the rest
On February 16th, Lord David James of Blackheath (a Conservative life peer) spoke for 11 minutes in the UK House of Lords about a supposed $15 trillion federal reserve conspiracy that involved more gold than has ever been mined. It turned out he had fallen for a widespread scam.
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“Mr. Riyadi has sent me a remarkable document dated February 2006,” Lord James continued, “in which the American Government have called him to a meeting with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” That meeting, he said, “was witnessed by Mr Alan Greenspan, who signed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of which he was chairman, as well as chairman of the real Federal Reserve in Washington. It is signed by Mr Timothy Geithner as a witness on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF sent two witnesses, the other being Mr Yusuke Horiguchi.”
“These gentlemen have signed as witnesses,” he continued, “to the effect that this deal is a proper deal. There are a lot of other signatures on the document. I do not have a photocopy; I have an original version of the contract.
“Under the contract, the American Treasury has apparently got the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to offer to buy out the bonds issued to Mr Riyadi to replace the cash which has been taken from him over the previous 10 years. It is giving him $500 million as a cash payment to buy out worthless bonds. That is all in the agreement and it is very remarkable.”
Riyadi, as the tale continues, supposedly had 750,000 tons of gold backing the $15 trillion the United States took from him to prop up the U.S.
One of the better services provided by the Science Fiction Writers of America is Writer Beware, maintained by Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin, which lists scammy vanity publishers, book doctors, fake agents and other entities devoted to separating hopeful writers from their money.
Predictably, Writer Beware has attracted a lot of approbation from the people who appear in its annals, and this, in turn has spawned a mysterious website called "The Write Agenda," a front for shadowy, pseudonymous individuals who purport to be a writers' group that seeks to correct the record as set out by Writer Beware. The Write Agenda includes a blacklist of writers who spoken out in favor of Writer Beware, as well incoherent bilious rants about those who make it their hobby to expose scammers and con-artists.
I woke up this morning to discover that The Write Agenda has added my friend John Scalzi to its boycott list, but not me. Frankly, I'm jealous.
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Unlike those who are going out of their way to trash Victoria, Ann and Writer Beware, I’m not hiding behind of phalanx of apparently fake groups, names and social media accounts — I’m an actual live person, actually working professionally in the writing industry, who actually knows Ann and Victoria and who has benefited from the hard work they have put into Writer Beware. If Writer Beware’s long and honorable history of sticking up for writers — and sticking it to scammers — isn’t enough to convince you of its good works, consider this my personal endorsement.
On Saturday, I posted about Popehat's "Anatomy of a Scam Investigation," in which Ken, a former federal prosecutor, is documenting his work to run down a con-artist who tried to rip him off with the "toner scam." Yesterday, Ken posted a new installment in the series in which he documents the use of PACER, the database of court records, to research crooks. It's gripping stuff. Read the rest
Ken, a former "fed" (of some description) on the group blog Popehat, received a "toner-scam" (a scam whereby someone sends you an invoice for a service you never ordered or received in the hopes that you'll pay it without noticing) solicitation in the mail at his business. This pissed him off, so he decided to track down the scammers and document, in lavish detail, the process by which he ran them to ground. The series of posts is up to part four now, and it's fascinating reading.
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For some reason, this one seriously pisses me off. Maybe its because the fraud is so blatant. Maybe it’s because the weasel-worded disclaimer designed to give them a defense to fraud claims is so perfunctory and lame. Maybe it’s because after I sent an email to the scammer’s lawyer, the scammer himself called me and tried to run a con on me. Like I’m a fucking rube.
So. I’ve decided to dedicate some time and money to investigating this scam and the people and companies responsible for it. I’ve also decided to write about the investigation, and use it as an opportunity to discuss con man culture and how anyone with an internet connection, a few bucks, and some time can investigate an attempted scam — or, preferably, conduct due diligence on a suspected scammer before they can even try to con you.
I’m going to discuss using Google, using PACER (which allows access to federal court records), using state court records, and taking effective action against scammers.
An anonymous bank worker writes, "What follows is the content of an email send to the whole company as a warning:"
A fraudulent email has recently made its way into xxxxxxxx entitled “Cease and Desist”. It claims to be from an individual or company informing you that your website is publishing copyrighted materials, and it includes a link to show which portions contain the infringements.
DO NOT click on the link – simply delete the email. See below for a sample of one of these emails.
From: Mark Wahlberg - WMLLP law [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:39 AM
Subject: Cease and desist!
We hereby inform you that you are infringing on copyrighted material. I represent Phoenix Meresis/MBS LP. It has come to my attention that you have used and/or published on your website (commencing on or about May 18, 2011, pursuant to our information and good faith belief) and continue to publish without permission a number of pieces owned by Phoenix Meresis (webpages, text, images, animated clips, source code, etc.) at your site including, but not limited to, the following url references cited below.
INDEX OF YOUR INFRINGING WEBPAGES:
http://www.[website they want you to click]
Bretz & Coven, LLP
I love that Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch have become a zombie front for a copyright phisher. Read the rest