Friday, February 3, 2017

"People believe what they want to believe"



   
     Every day beautiful women reach out to me. On Facebook, wanting to be friends. I ignore them because I know they are really just overseas scam artists using swiped photos as bait, trolling for lonely men so out of touch that they don't pause to ask themselves why a 24-year-old fashion model noticed them from the wide sweep of the internet.
     But countless men aren't savvy enough to ask that question, and so spend untold millions supporting fiancees who don't exist, or paying blackmail after sexting their supposed online gal pals. The internet is a masked ball for fraudsters.
     Not that we needed the internet. Those with long memories might recall "The Land of Chonda-Za," where semi-nude "angels" frolicked and men would "have all their wishes and dreams fulfilled." Provided they paid a membership fee and worked their way up the ranks of worth by paying even more. A mid-1980s scam concocted by one Donald S. Lowry of Bettendorf, Iowa. The garden of delights was located north of the Quad Cities, of all places. There being no internet yet, Lowry sent out mass mailings.
     Who would fall for such a thing? Some 31,000 men across North America, according to federal prosecutors, bilked of $4.5 million. But that isn't the astounding part. The astounding part is, even after the scam was revealed, men clung to it. A dozen came from as far away as California to testify in Lowry's defense at his trial in Peoria in 1988. They carried photos of their angels in their wallets, where their money once had been.


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16 comments:

  1. He is our televangelist preacher. Leader of the religion of prosperity. And any who question him, question God himself and are sent by the Devil.
    America has sold its soul for the promise of prosperity. Hmmm, I wonder if that has happened anywhere else in recent history. And what were the consequences?

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  2. Call me naive, but I cling to the belief that enough people will eventually realize he's a liar to erase his paper-thin plurality.

    Bitter Scribe

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  3. Brilliant segue from internet scams to lonely old men to Donald Trump true believers. I would say that maybe we should all just shut up for a while and let the facts speak for themselves, but it's the facts themselves that are in dispute right now with the right wingers in their usual fashion co-opting the "fake news" motif as if every source of news except their own precious spokesmen is just making it up as they go along. Of course, Trump will eventually bite the butts of even his most fervent followers, but ah, the havoc he will have wreaked before he gets there!

    john

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  4. You can lead a person to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

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  5. So true, people will believe anything. The price for entry to "The Land of Chonda-Za," can be dear. Once there you are entitled to many benefits, including 72 virgins. Although the cynic in me says they are probably all virgins for a reason.

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    1. sexist drivel. like mr trump said about one of his accusers . to paraphrase:" how can you imagine i touched her inappropriately ? she's not attractive."

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  6. I first heard about Don Lowry on episode 571 of This American Life. Worth listening to, on their website or in podcast form.

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  7. Off topic, but I see Dr. Nancy Jones died. I recall Neil giving her sympathetic treatment when she was taking the fall for problems at the Cook county morgue.

    Tom Evans

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    1. What I got from Neil's treatment was that she knew her job thoroughly with the exception of the political part, which was fatal of course.

      john

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  8. Lovely statue -- Trump approved?

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  9. Seriously, Neil... Are you still trying to also capitalize on failed Obama train wreck? For once in many decades a man takes office and at least tries to fulfill campaign promises and YOU JUMP ON HIM calling him a sham??? NOO one can do it all but at the very least politicians are working in Washington. The last 8 years have been a disaster for our economy. bho paid out an immense amount of money to those who hate us in the last 8 years and fixed NOTHING. He has incited a racial war that will not end well for any of us unless we start to act like Americans and pull together - something he never tried to accomplish. I have no dreams of what the President will do except I suspect not only will our standing be better in this world in another year than out had been for the last at least 8, but we, as a country, will not all be living hand to mouth. Why not stop criticizing for a few minutes and try to find the good that is happening. The travel ban isn't a BAN - it is meant to give our customs time to develop better systems of entry and the countries that travel has been affected are the same bho had put on a list to do the same. Here's an ideas... Why not try to stop the madness and maybe give him a chance instead of trying to incite dissent at every breath he takes. Could he seriously be any worse than the fiasco of the last 8 years??? We lived with your "president" and survived, you most certainly can put your big boy pants on and live with ours.

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  10. Seriously, Margaret... This from the people who never quit questioning the President's place of birth, who obstructed his every attempt to bring about immigration reform, who theatrically voted down Obama Care some 60 times! Even if were we to concede the appropriateness of Trump's executive orders, no one not completely in the thrall of delusion, would see them as other than ham-handed, discriminatory, hateful acts devoid of compassion and good sense.

    john

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    1. Look at the photo page of Ms. Murphy's blog and that says it all.

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  11. Margaret is a moron, Margaret is a moron.

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    1. Oh come on. I for one am cherishing "He incited a racial war." By ... being black, see? C'mon Mr. Creosote. It is not often you see such candor. This, remember, is a learning experience.

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    2. The "pull together" was a good one too!

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