Category Archives: Phonies and Assclowns

TSA: Evil, but Incompetent

tsa-bozoThe worst agency of the government? It was once a tough competition, but the TSA has all but retired the trophy: there is not one intelligent, good, decent, moral or ethical individual employed by the TSA or who has ever been employed by the TSA.

Employers, watch for that line on resumes. it is the mark of evil incompetence, and you don’t need ex-TSA problems in your work force. If one of these payroll patriots is seeking work in the Dreaded Private Sector™, it’s someone who was so bad as to get fired from an agency that has no standards whatsoever. Consider their recent achievements:

ITEM: Apparently not content with their massive, chronic and pervasive thefts from travelers’ baggage, they’ve decided they really ought to search their parked cars, too

(Does the TSA really steal from baggage? Let me Google that for you. Short answer: hell, yes, all the time). Of course, they’re having the parking valets do at least some of the car-searching, which is a good thing: in our experience, parking valets are much more trustworthy. They are more carefully selected, more thoroughly trained, and have much higher levels of integrity and accountability than TSA employees).

ITEM: Their “improved” security provisions at Kennedy Airport locked first responders out of the facility, so when a middle-aged man collapsed in Terminal 4, the ambulance crews couldn’t get through the doors or into the elevators. The security Nazis forgot to port their access cards over — too busy tossing citizens’ cars for resalable stuff, perhaps.

No doubt “Blogger Bob” Burns, the overpaid Goebbels to this horrid horde of half-assed Heydrichs, has some lame excuse and some fingers to point somewhere else. He always does. Doesn’t wash. Your guys own this, Bob.

Of course, as good economists, we must weigh the benefits against the costs. So let’s add up the benefits. Against the massive inconvenience and waste, the loss of privacy, and the occasional dead traveler, we can weigh:

  • Terrorists caught by TSA: 0.
  • Terror plots stopped by TSA: 0
  • Terrorists inconvenienced by TSA: 0

It’s zeroes all the way down… kind of like their employees. There is no intelligent, good, decent, moral, or ethical person at TSA. Never has been.

Want to be cheered up?

The TSA has some employees who are authorized to carry guns, and they want more. What could possibly go wrong?

VA Agent Orange $ went to VN Wannabees

Vietnam Memorial Soldiers by Frederick HartAlong with the six who pled guilty, there are a dozen more veterans or VA workers who are likely to stand trial. The organizer of the scheme, a VA worker named David Clark, is very likely to go to Federal prison. Good. The whole Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome mess at VA long has been overdue for this kind of corrective (for our generation, it’s bogus PTSD claims. Come to think of it, the Vietnam generation produced plenty of those, too).

This all happened at the Baltimore VA, which is notoriously bad. Its persistent underperformance led to it being labeled worst in the nation in January, with the lowest level of claims that were handled properly (only 7%!), the highest backlog, and the highest error rate; with problems that have persisted, despite lip service from VA’s senior leaders, for years.

One of the dirty little secrets of government is that the VA pays a metric crapton of money for things that are not remotely military-related, but are just consequences of old age, or the bills coming due for vets’ longterm bad habits like smoking and substance abuse. Because their budget grows when their claims grow, they periodically turn a blind eye to suspect claims, and accept pseudo-science tenuously tying cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and probably halitosis to Agent Orange exposure, and then, assuming every veteran ever within hailing distance of Vietnam was exposed to Agent Orange. This creates a playground for greedy scammers. Erik Slavin at the Stars and Stripes:

Six veterans have pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges after receiving payments for falsely claiming exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, according to the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.

They obtained a combined total of more than $500,000 in cash and tax benefits after allegedly paying Maryland Veterans Administration employee David Clark, 68, to falsify their claims, according to Maryland federal district court documents.

Clark, an Army veteran who served as Maryland’s deputy chief of veterans claims, has been indicted but was not among those who pleaded guilty.

via Six Md. veterans plead guilty to Agent Orange benefits fraud – News – Stripes.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all had representatives among these Agent Orange scammers. Sad. Many of the “Agent Orange” sufferers, including Clark, never served in Vietnam at all; Clark helped them create bogus records, as he did for himself.

Clark created false Vietnam service records in those cases, complete with false commendations — including a Purple Heart for himself — according to the indictment allegations. He is also accused of forging medical diagnoses.

“Clark created fake doctors’ letters for the claimants using the names and addresses of real doctors who were unaware of his conduct,” according to the indictment.

In most cases, Clark diagnosed the veterans with diabetes, and then further increased their payouts by falsely stating that they were taking insulin, according to the indictment.

NVA propaganda photoThese scamming leeches ought to get the insulin injections they’ve been on disabiity for — all the back doses, at once. Disability, my eye.

As for Clark and his bullshit Purple Heart, will cheerfully pay the air fare so we can bring an NVA veteran here to shoot and bayonet him with a rusty SKS. We’ll even provide the SKS!


More vital than GI education? $600k hotel bill. One night.

VP Joe Biden and his entourage: over 100 various security gnomes, equerries, knob-polishers, horse-holders, chai boys, praise bestowers and a food taster — spent une nuit à Paris in the celebrated Hotel Intercontental. One-night bill: Almost $600k. ($585,000.50, to be precise..50?).

This is vital, essential government spending. According to Obama and Biden, not to mention Panetta and Hagel, the money promised to GIs in order to recruit them to risk their lives for the Beltway ingrates is wasteful and was the first thing chopped when budget sequestration forced a reduction in the rate of growth of Defense Department spending.

The VP got a much better deal for the taxpayers the night before in London. He only blew $458,388.65. (Actual bills at the two links).

Update 26 March:

A Canadian blog plays a related game of sequester juxtaposition.

Vets — beware spammer, possible scammer

Keep an eye out for these shifty guys:

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 1.38.42 PM

They are not your friends. They send you spam, then claim you opted in. Naturally they want you to give them money. And they play the brother-vet card.

“LighthousePAC is founded and staffed by young professionals and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, which gives us a unique perspective on how to solve these issues.”

Its head appears to be an actual vet of Afghanistan and Iraq, who somehow was affiliated with President Romney’s brilliant digital strategy (oh… wait, what?). But the group seems actually to be just another Beltway PR firm’s astroturf outfit. (They’re connected in some way, maybe just as customers, with the Leesburg, VA spammer Paramount Communications Group). Like one more of those was really needed.

More likely, some political coatholder whose patron wasn’t able to patronize him needed a job, and figured begging money from working vets was better than actually going out and getting one.

There are plenty of real and well-established veterans’ advocacy and issue groups out there, run by honest vets who don’t grab your email off of some other list and lie about you opting in to their crap.

Lighthouse? We get the -house part, but we’d substitute a short Anglo-Saxon term, making the compound word indicate another structure entirely.

Assclown of the Ides

These Vietnam War vets are not amused.

These Vietnam War vets are not amused.

If there’s one thing that gives Vietnam veterans the ass, it’s phony veterans doing the stolen valor thing. (We say this based on long association with these men, but make no claims of Vietnam status — we want to make that abundantly clear). Vietnam vets hate phony vets and really hate phony heroes.

It turns out that’s the case even when they’re all VC. Ho Xuan Man produced a lot of purportedly wartime paperwork that made him out a hero, and got himself awarded Hero of the People’s Armed Forces, a very high decoration. His story sounds familiar to anyone who;s heard a lot of phonies bloviate: derring-do, enemy slain, singlehanded feats of military arms. All bullshit, say his VC contemporaries.

The documents seem to have had to go through the provincial Party Chief (we don’t need to explain what party, right?) and they did. It just so happens that the Chief was … drumroll… Mr. Man his own self at the time.

According to Man’s declarations, he joined the provincial security and armed forces to protect the people’s committee of the party in 1964. He also claimed that his unit killed a squad of six American soldiers in 1966.

But Le Van Uyen, former head for organisation board of Phong Dien District, said, “This is completely false. Between 1964 and 1967, Mr. Man stayed in his hometown. He was a student and herded buffalo. In 1967 he did serve as a guerrilla fighter in Phong An commune, but this would not have allowed him to protect the provincial party committee.”

This is not Mr Man.

This is not Mr Man — even though it IS party propaganda showing staged valor.

The group of veterans also denied that Mr. Man’s unit ambushed and killed nine American soldiers in May 1968, as well as his claims that he gave instruction to comrades to carry out an operation to kill six American soldiers at Ta Luong base the same year. They said that during this time, Man was in Phong An Commune, while Ta Luong base was located in A Luoi Distrct. In May, Phong An Commune did not witness a fight that would have resulted in the number of kills Man has claimed.

Hoang Phuoc Sum, a former provincial police officer, and one of the accusers, attested in a letter to the Party Unit in February that Man was a fellow student in neighbouring of Quang Binh Province from 1969 to March 1971, and then worked as assistant to the Phong Dien District Party Chief, Le Van Sau from March to November 1971.

“Man was just a local guerrilla and not a party member, so how could he said he have led the nearly 100 attacks he has taken credit for, or killed 150 American soldiers, and destroyed an aircraft along with 37 other military vehicles,” Mr. Sum said.

via Former party official accused of falsifying wartime achievements | DTiNews – Dan Tri International, the news gateway of Vietnam.

These VC early in the war were almost certainly dead by 1972.

These VC early in the war were almost certainly dead by 1972.

Gee, even the enemy are not immune to Stolen Valor syndrome. But maybe someone will speak up for Vietnamese Vietnam War phony, Mr. Man. Anyone have the phone number of the other celebrated phony Vietnam hero, Connecticut Senator Slick Dick Blumenthal?

No doubt the enemy’s surviving combatants, like our own, know that the truest heroes didn’t come home after the war, which is all the more reason to be outraged by Blumenthal — or Man.

Osama had documents from Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning Support NetworkIf you’re a big-P Patriot, you might not like Manning — neither Eli nor Peyton. But if you’re a small-p patriot, the Manning that gets up your nose is ickle Bradley, the toy-poodle-sized traitor with the rottweiler-sized ego. PFC Bradley Manning released hundreds of thousands of classified documents in an ill-advised attempt to conduct his own foreign policy.

The latest revelation is that the documents not only might have been of interest to US enemies, they definitely were  — as evidenced by the fact that Osama bin Laden had them in his Abbotabad hangout. The information was teased out by the UK’s Telegraph.

Today, prosecutors argued they should be allowed to call a military “operator” – a common term for a US commando – as a witness, saying he could offer testimony about evidence collected from the 2011 raid in Pakistan.

The potential witness was named only as “John Doe” and referred to him as “the operator who actually collected the evidence in Abbottabad and handed it to an FBI agent in Afghanistan”.

Major Ashden Fein, the lead prosecutor, said Doe would describe “how he went into a room, how he picked up the three pieces of information and what he did with them”.

Military authorities have consistently refused to release documents associated with Private First Class Mannings court martial, making it impossible to confirm Does exact role or his relation to the case.

Prosecutors also requested that Doe be allowed to give his testimony in an “offsite location”, away from the military courtroom where the case is being heard.

The secrecy surrounding his testimony makes it seem likely that he was among the members of Seal Team 6 who killed the al-Qaeda leader two years ago.

The government is also seeking to call eight other “chain of custody witnesses” who would describe how the files were transported from bin Ladens compound back to the US for analysis.

Among the requested witnesses is a translator who examined “letters to and from bin Laden”.

via WikiLeaks: US to call bin Laden raid Navy Seal to testify against Bradley Manning – Telegraph.

Naturally, Manning’s al-Qaeda lawyer is arguing vociferously against this evidence being presented in his charge’s trial. It’s not that it might have some relevance to the accusation that Manning released classified information that aided an enemy; oh no! The lawyer says, in that uniquely mealy-mouthed way in which a paid, amoral mouthpiece can utter the most baldly counterfactual rubbish, that Osama winding up with the files “has no bearing” on the case. See, he’s simply concerned that presenting evidence against his client will cause “undue delay.” He’s just trying to save the taxpayers money! It just looks like he’s a slimeball for the ages.

Manning does want to read a 24-page statement more-or-less confessing, while bashing the Army and whining about how he’s being picked on.

Follow up – wrist tap for traitor

John_KiriakouWe’ve covered this dirtbag before, but we didn’t update you when he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in Federal prison for multiple felonies last month.

A former CIA officer who pleaded guilty to identifying a covert intelligence officer was sentenced on Friday to 30 months in prison.

John Kiriakou and prosecutors agreed on the term as part of the plea agreement he struck in October.

Kiriakou, 48, declined to make a statement at the Alexandria, Virginia, federal court prior to sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema.
“Alright, perhaps you’ve already said too much,” Brinkema said.

She rejected defense attempts to characterize Kiriakou as a whistle-blower.

The judge was bound by the plea agreement, but said she would have handed down a tougher sentence had Kiriakou been convicted at trial.

“This case is not a case about a whistle-blower. It’s about a person who betrayed a very solemn trust,” Brinkema said.Ex-CIA officer in the news before

via Former spy sentenced for leaking another spy’s identity – CNN Security Clearance – Blogs.

Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s about a traitor. 

Kiriakou leaked the names of multiple Clandestine Service members to reporters and to lawyers working for Al-Qaeda detainees. Private investigators hired by the lawyers then built target packets on the clandestine operatives for their al-Qaeda paymasters.

Kiriakou’s motivation wasn’t anything special:

“The defendant acted out of a sense of ego and narrow-minded self-interest to raise his media profile,” [prosecutor Mark] Schneider told the court.

His ego was strong enough that he initially thought he could weasel out of this case:

Kiriakou pleaded guilty in October only to intentionally identifying an undercover CIA officer.

So initially, he tried to brazen it out. But as prosecutors revealed more of the evidence against him it was clear he was going down for several felonies, and witthout a deal he was going away, as Judge Brinkema said, for a very long time. At that point, he instantly transformed from fearless warrior for transparency, to quivering nebbish trying to save as much of his own skin as possible.

Who funded Kiriakou’s top-drawer defense is not certain, but it may have been the same terror financiers that arrange “pro bono” lawyers from white-shoe law firms by allowing them to pad bills for unrelated legal work.

He also admitted to other allegations, including illegally telling reporters the name of a different CIA employee involved in a 2002 operation to capture alleged al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, and lying to a review board about a book he was writing. But those charges were dropped as part of his plea deal.

The charges arose out of communications Kiriakou had with two journalists between 2007 and 2009.

Most news stories are coy about identifying the journalists, who were not charged with any crimes in the case because of the political difficulty of prosecution. We’ll name them here, though. Matthew Cole was a producer for Brian Ross at ABC News, and was apparently moonlight both as an aspiring book author, and as an assistant to the al-Qaeda investigators. Cole was fired by ABC when the case threatened to blow up and involve Ross, a marquee name at the network. Richard Esposito of ABC was also a conduit for Kiriakou’s treachery, as was the New York Times’s Scott Shane.

ABC and the Times refused to cooperate with American investigators and prosecutors in the Kiriakou case, just with those working for Osama Bin Laden at the time.

Meanwhile, Judge Brinkema gave Kiriakou a delay before reporting to serve his sentence. This is customary with non-violent offenders, to give them time to settle their affairs. So what has Kiriakou been doing? Trashing his agency, his country and even the judge who cut him this slack, in state-controlled Russian media. We guess this means that even Brian Ross won’t touch him now, and the only outlets left for his ego are in the propaganda organs of opponents and enemies of his rejected country.

And… 30 months? Wherever he is, Major John André, who suffered a much worse penalty for doing much less damage to the United States, and didn’t have a number of oaths to the US to betray, is entitled to feel pretty badly done by.

German PR executive threatens NRA with hackers

logo_populeaks“Pretty nice organization you have here. It would be sad if something happened to it.” That’s the essence of the threatening message sent by German PR executive Sven Lilienström to the NRA. The actual words are: “To the NRA Board of Directors: Try to protect your data/files and emails!” and if they can actually do it, he promises to show up with “two team members” to “polish 500 weapons” at the NRA annual meeting.


Portrait of the artist as he sees himself.

He shows he’s serious with a European’s idea of a threatening gangsta: some soft and lissome Eurotrash male model, wearing lipstick and gripping an Airsoft MP5K. In his weak hand. (Or maybe the weaker of two weak hands?) Lord love a duck. Apparently this is Sven Lilienström, as he sees himself. An edgy gangsta, commanding hordes of pimply hackers.

Lilienström doesn’t actually seem to be connected to the hacker community in any obvious way. Far from having techie cred, his education equips him to be a fitness trainer (German language link). He has almost zero presence n the net, apart from self-promotion — and inept self-promotion at that (he’s got a MySpace page! Himmel Herrgott, can we touch him?). As you can see from his real picture, he’s about as hip as Homer Simpson. He’s based in the international hi-tech nexus of Kaarst, in North Rhein-Westphalia.

The artist's other face -- equally phony.

The artist’s other face — equally phony.

Lilienström — he of the MySpace social media presence — runs a PR agency, which he says is expert on social and guerilla media. (What he means by that, as we shall see, is that he is unburdened with ethics). His firm is called Rheingewinn (loosely, Rhein profit!) showing that someone really did see the underpants gnomes as role models.

He’s done some self-promotion as a global warming causista, and some self-promotion while flacking for a european racket called the Plus-X Award which turned out to be “pay for play.”  (German language, but a nomination cost €464 and a win — which a third of the nominees got — an adittional €3,064). We reckon it was a short step from bribery to extortion.

His new approach is a mock-Wikileaks called Populeaks. It works like this: Lilienström sends a threat to some target — in this case the NRA — and gives them a deadline.

While many of his past letters have attacked his old bêtes noires — One beats the global warming drum, and one rather rudely demanded answers about a micro-scandal involving manufacturers misleading Stiftung Warentest, a German equivalent of Consumer Reports and a respected competitor to his pay-for-play Plus-X Awards — most have not actually been threatening. One, to a Canadian government contractor, did claim that he had hacked Canadian immigration data.

So what we have here is part and parcel of Lilienstrom’s earlier work: self-promotion, with questionable ethics.

The NRA bet: Try to protect your data and emails! – The Leak Preventers.

The question is: does NRA have to worry? The answer: probably not. It’s hard to imagine the clownish Lilienström, a PR executive that could have been sketched by Gilbert and Sullivan (had such a trade existed in their era), being effective at anything.

But consider this: there are certainly people who have an interest in hacking NRA’s membership data, including news media organizations (the British media, which extensively cross-pollinates ours, is in the throes of a criminal hacking scandal at this very moment) and ATF management (it would be illegal, but mere black-letter law has never stopped them before). And those threats have always been out there. While the people that run NRA might be complacent, they’re not incompetent, and one must assume that they keep their data close and their systems closer, and have good security folks, if not in-house, on speed dial.

The Wannabe’s Diploma Mill

This guy claims to sell Special Forces Training Certificates.

There’s only a few problems with them: they don’t look like the real ones (in most cases, they look radically different). They never have the right names or signature blocks. In some cases, they’re for nonexistent schools or schools that never issued a diploma. In other cases, he misrepresents what the school teaches, probably because he has no freaking idea. Some of these bogus certificates are not even on the right size paper.

In other words, they’re bogus and it should be immediately obvious to anyone who isn’t a phony that they’re bogus.

So who buys from this asshat?

Wannabes and phonies, that’s who.

Never trust documents supplied by an individual, especially one who tells cinematic-sounding tales of derring-do (they’re cinematic because he absorbed them with his ass in a theater seat). Get him to sign SF180 and get your own copy of his records. If he won’t sign the form, request the publicly-releasable information on your own. Schools, awards and decorations, assignments are all publicly releasable, and ask for them specifically.

On Wannabes and other liars

stolen-valor-approved-valor-fraud-politics-1340910211We probably waste too many recycled electrons on those complete wastes of sperm and egg, but our defense is this: we can’t help it. First, they frequently make claims to awards or attainments that we & friends risked life and health, and exhausted ourselves even in our young prime, to earn. Second… in today’s networked world, it’s just not possible that a John Giduck or Dick Blumenthal could get away with his fake hero claims forever.

The same is true about phonies in other fields, like “Clark Rockefeller” or Jayson Blair, and economic journalist Megan McArdle, whose once-popular blog apparently still exists in the wasteland that is The Daily Beast, shares our fascination. Without even mentioning stolen valor or a single case of a military phony, she asks some questions, and makes some speculative stabs at the answers. It’s worth the effort to go to the Beast and Read the Whole Thing™, because this is only a taste:

I am fascinated by liars.

I don’t mean ordinary, boring liars, like employees who call in sick because they want to go to the beach, or insurance salesmen who tell you that it is a good idea to buy whole life insurance.  I mean people who tell high-test, dry-aged, technicolor extravaganza sort of lies.  The kind of lies that are very, very hard to tell without eventually getting caught.  Like making up a girlfriend who died of leukemia right before a big game.

Those certainly sound like our kind of wannabes, don’t they? But McArdle has other BS artists in mind:

Journalist Stephen Glass fabricating companies whose threads were spun out of his fertile imagination.  People who pretend to attend law school or medical school, fooling their families for years.  Scientists who fake Nobel-caliber research.

The morality of this is not very interesting: what they’re doing is terrible.  But the psychology is fascinating.  What all these lies have in common is that eventually, there is a 100% chance that you will get caught, and that your lies will destroy you.  How do people decide to tell them?

Personally, we’ve seen a change from outlandish and easily-disproven BS (POW and Medal of Honor phonies) to more modest (and less-well-documented) claims over the last twenty or so years. She sees a difference between the big phony and the smaller one:

I’m not talking about folks like Mike Daisey, who might conceivably have imagined–wrongly–that China was so very far away that no one would be able to check up on his fabrications.  Or even Jonah Lehrer, whose fabrications were trivial details that he might have imagined were too small to attract notice.  (As they were, until he made the mistake of fabricating a Bob Dylan quote.  In his not-exactly-defense, I wouldn’t have known how rabid Dylan fans, either.)  I mean people who were telling lies that could not possibly go on forever without being exposed.

We think the difference between Glass and Lehrer, like the difference between the 1990s “my two Medals of Honor are classified” bull-slinger and a cautious one like Giduck who tried to put his claims in others’ mouths, is simply that the newer, seemingly more modest liars are attuned to the distributed power of the internet and are trying to cover their asses. They just don’t see that, to take a very old aphorism that is ever more true in a networked world, truth will out.

Like scientists who fabricate amazing research results, something that is nearly impossible to get away with over the long term, since other labs are going to repeatedly discover that your results do not replicate.

This seems to be a poorly-studied phenomenon, in part because these sorts of spectacular, sure-to-be-detected lies aren’t all that common, and in part because the liars are not very reliable sources of information, even about themselves.  I’ve read some of the interviews and first-person accounts from people who did this sort of thing, and they are wildly, profoundly unsatisfying.  They don’t ever explain what I’d like to know, which is “How did you ever see this working out?”  

stolen-valor-SF-phonyFrankly, we don’t think the fence-swinging liars are all as uncommon as McArdle seems to believe.

Of course, they do get away with it for longer than you would think–dozens of news outlet broadcast details (and a photograph!) of Te’o’s apparently non-existant dead girlfriend. Perhaps that encourages them to escalate: if Sports Illustrated didn’t check, why would anyone else?  But that’s not satisfying either.  Doesn’t it ever occur to them that every additional story makes it more likely that they will get caught?

stolen-valor-poser3The underlying fact pattern that she’s reporting on there is this: most journalists are hacks who suck at their jobs. They never, ever question a story that makes them go “awww,” or that lines up neatly with some preferred narrative. As she’s a reporter who tries to question her own assumptions, she just doesn’t believe how incredibly bad her colleagues are, and how the folks out here in Flyoverstan have come to discount very much if not all of what they say.

Like the song says, you can tell they’re lyin’ ’cause their lips are movin’.

Here she gets close to the heart of the matter:

A fabricated love interest who eventually dies of some heartrending fatal disease is the kind of thing that many of us heard from at least one histrionic friend in college.  It is the kind of thing that you can perhaps get away with, if you are not famous.  But the probability approached 1 that this would be exposed. Whether Te’o is the hoaxer behind the fake girlfriend, or was himself hoaxed, the question remains: why on earth . . . ?

millard-with-unearned-medalsFirst, let’s just euthanize the “was he himself hoaxed” comment which is still making the rounds of the gullible in journo-, sports-, and sports-journo circles. Kindly explain to us how somebody loses track of the facts that he has or doesn’t have a girlfriend, who is or isn’t alive. We’ll stipulate that football players tend not to be quantum physicists, but this isn’t Schrödinger’s Cat here, nobody cares about her quantum state. In Newtonian physics and Shakespearean terms, to be or not to be, that is the question. (Or to give it a Jordanian — Louis Jordanian that is — inflection, is she is or is she ain’t, period?)

Perhaps it’s just that these people do not adjust quickly enough to playing in the big leagues; they don’t understand quickly enough that the kind of lies people tell in bars cannot safely be broadcast to thousands or millions of people, and the kind of shortcuts that an unscrupulous or desperate person might safely take on a boring, low-circulation article are career suicide on a high-profile publication.  By the time the danger becomes clear, it is too late.

Or perhaps we’ll never understand it. Perhaps the fabricators do not even understand it themselves.

via Fake Girlfriends and Other Dangerous Fabrications – The Daily Beast.

stolen-valorWhat the phonies don’t get is that by slinging SF (or SEAL, or Marine Recon, or you-name-it) bullshit, they’re stepping on the toes of all the men that legitimately earned the right to those titles. In 1950 some guy could probably have waked around the country saying he was a D-Day paratrooper, in 1880 some guy could have said he fought on Little Round Top, and as long as he didn’t run into one of the handful of real deal guys, he would have gotten away with it. But it was always a big-league lie. What has changed is the communications world of today makes it possible to expose the lie. It makes the real equivalent of the Pickett’s Charge survivor or Easy Company platoon sergeant available instantly and easily, and it ensures that lies about his own action get routed to him.

There are no more consequence-free “lies in bars.” The guy in the bar knows somebody who knows somebody and everyone’s a tweet or email away. Go ahead, lie. It’s your ass.

The future is transparent as a lens. And wannabes are going to get burned, every time, sooner or later.