Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Barry Minkow And His

So, its been a while. We're still in the throes of a pandemic, we've got an election coming up, and the California wildfires are leaving people and pets homeless. 

But, how are you?

We've finished Netflix, so Prime Video, and Apple TV are next. Just kidding, but some new seasons of shows have been added, and I have to say, Umbrella Academy did not disappoint.

In this week's episode, Sunni takes the reins with an episode of a California shyster that ran what seemed to be a successful carpet cleaning and restoration company. Only it was a front for organized crime that bilked investors out of tons of money.

Minkow's Money Madness

From a young age Barry Minkow knew he wanted money. He started his grift by selling his grandmother's jewelry. But at the age of nine, he started working for his mother's carpet cleaning company as a telemarketer.

But, he had an enterprising spirit, so he started his own carpet cleaning company, ZZZZ Best. It began as a carpet cleaning company, and whether he actually cleaned carpets, or not, who's to say?

Alas, Barry fell in with all kinds of shady characters who taught him to swindle with the best of them. He expanded his company to include insurance restorations. But, unfortunately, there were no restorations to be done. So, like any good criminal, he lied, lied, lied.

Somehow, Minkow managed to get his company into the public arena through fake addresses and bogus warehouse buildings he claimed to be offices/headquarters or what have you. And he even managed to obtain a board of directors to present the facade of being "on the level."

The Lies Are Exposed

As with most of businesses built on lies, Barry's little kingdom came crashing down.

So, at it's peak, ZZZZ Best sold on the stock market for $18 a share. This was in the 1980s, so at the time, it was a lot of money. It was valued at $280 million, and Barry was the youngest millionaire business owner.

But the company wasn't actually making as much money has he purported. And, he was looking for a way to get his money right. So, when he learned KeyServ, a cleaning company contracted with Sears was up for sale, he began the process of a merger. 

Well, that all fell through when someone learned of how Barry's business stayed afloat in the beginning. Credit card fraud. Not only did Barry involve himself in cc fraud, but check kiting and fraudulent banking practices.

Needless to say, Barry screwed himself, and as a result, he went to prison. Sentenced to 25 years in prison on March 27, 1989 he was also sentence to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $26 million, and was banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company by the SEC.

Barry is Free to Continue The Fuckery

But, like many non-people of color who are sentenced to prison for crimes they actually committed, Barry got an early release in 1995. While in prison he claimed to be a born-again Christian, and so began working as a pastor in Chatsworth CA.

And, of course, his fuckery soon began again. This time his target was the stock market. He started a fraud investigation company after one of his church members asked him to look into an investment firm, which turned out to be a $300 million ponzi scheme. 

Minkow began shorting company stocks, before he released a report on the companies. He accused the companies of fraud, and other issues. He made up things about companies causing stock prices to fall. 

Multiple companies sued him over his libelous reports, and most of them settled out of court.

However, one such company came at him with the wrath of God, effectively putting Barry back where he belongs.



Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Food Fukery

different types of food

 
When you buy food at the supermarket or eat at a restaurant you thing you're getting what you pay for, right? Well, you probably aren't.

In this week's episode we discuss the rampant amount of fraudulent foods you're getting. From bad labeling to straight up lying, it's a bunch of fuckery.

Pumpkin Puree


Pumpkin puree: You know, the canned orange stuff that’s lining the supermarket walls right now? The stuff you use to make all your favorite fall desserts that’s labeled “100% pumpkin”?! Yes, well, it’s actually made from 100% not pumpkin. The mix is made from a variety of winter squash (think butternut, Golden Delicious, Hubbard, and more). Libby’s, the brand that produces about 85% of the country’s canned “pumpkin” filling, has actually developed a certain variety of squash that they grow, package, and distribute to supermarkets across the country–all the while fooling innocent, trusting consumers into believing they’re eating a pumpkin.

As it turns out, pumpkins can be fairly stringy and watery; certain varieties of winter squash make a richer, sweeter puree that works way better for packing the now-ambiguous flavor we all love into our favorite fall dishes. Additionally, the USDA is fairly lenient with gourd terminology in general, which is why it’s perfectly legal to label a food product as “pumpkin” when, in reality, it’s made from a different variety of squash. 

So you’ve basically been eating butternut squash pie, squash bread, and drinking SQUASH FREAKING SPICE LATTES this entire time.

Parmesan Cheese


By law, Parmigiano-Reggiano is allowed to contain only three very simple ingredients: milk (produced in the Parma/Reggio region and less than 20 hours from cow to cheese), salt, and rennet (a natural enzyme from calf intestine). Three other ingredients, Cellulose Powder, Potassium Sorbate, and Cheese Cultures are not found in Parmigiano-Reggiano - they are completely illegal in its production. Yet all three are in Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese (I’m not sure if that means it is supposed to be 100% “parmesan” or simply 100% grated, which it certainly is). It’s far enough from the real thing that Kraft was legally forced to stop selling its cheese labeled Parmesan in Europe

Kobe Beef


Kobe beef is only produced in Japan. It’s a style of beef that comes from Kobe Japan and is from the Wagyu breed of cow. It’s very rare. So much so that you can only get at very select restaurants in the US. As such, many serve what’s known in the trade as “wangus,” a hybrid of domestically raised Wagyu breeds and common Angus and call it Kobe. And some don’t even bother using any Wagyu breed at all.

Wagyu beef is known for its pink color and it’s marbling and flavor. Kobe is even more desirable and goes through an extensive approval process to even be considered Kobe. And it’s very, very expensive.


Article from Bon Apetit goes into great depth and detail on the process. 

Fish

In 2013 I actually wrote an article about this for Digital Journal about fish mislabeling. At the time it was ⅓ of fish in grocery stores and sushi restaurants were being passed off as other types of fish.

At the time a 2-year Oceana study determined a fuckton of fish was lislabed...Ocean test the fish DNA and discovered what was going on. They’re still fighting to fix the issue.

A whole lot of the fish we buy at your favorite restaurant, the supermarket, or even your local fish store aren’t what they say they are. They often substitute white fish for other types of fish. And even label farm-raised fish as wild-caught to make the consumer pay a higher price for a lower quality fish. Gordon Ramsay would skewer these people.

Some of the most commonly faked fish are:

Slickhead and tilapia which are passed off as Alaskan or Pacific cod, king mackerel and whitefin weakfish labeled as grouper, blueline tilefish as Alaskan or Pacific halibut and, Pacific ocean perch, yellowtail rockfish, giltheaded sea bream, madai, tilapia, white bass all being labeled as red snapper.

This can be problematic because of the mercury levels in specific types of fish. There is a Do Not Eat list of types of fish that are too dangerous to eat 

Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive is high-quality olives mashed into a paste and pressed to express its oil that is then bottled. But’s likely that that’s not what your getting. It’s estimated that 80% of the olive oil people are getting is either low-quality olive oil, mixed olive oil from older harvests and low-quality oils, or ranid oil. 


Why? Because the FDA doesn’t actually regulate olive oil. There are no rules to stop these brands from lying to you on their labels. Some olive oil producers are working to get the FED to set standards for calling olive oil extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, and just plain old olive oil. But, for now there’s bupkis to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Because EVOO is more expensive than the just plain old oo.


For now, here are some of the companies to watch for. Check your cupboards because you probably have one of these on your shelf which means you paid an inflated price for garbage olive oil.


  • Mezzetta

  • Pompeian

  • Mazola

  • Primadonna

  • Sasso

  • Colavita

  • Antica Badia

  • Whole Foods

  • Felippo Berio

  • Safeway

  • Coricelli

  • Bertolli


Also, bottled in Italy doesn’t mean made in Italy. You could be getting olive oil from olives grown in other Mediterranean countries, which are from lower quality olives. If your olive oil isn’t grown, produced, or made it Italy, but bottled in Italy, it’s probably not what you think it is.

Honey

If you have a local honey farmer, you really should be kissing their bee-suited asses. Because apparently honey is the 3rd most faked food in the U.S. Yep…


So, there’s manuka honey, which is produced in New Zealand. But since, it extremely hard to differentiate from regular old orange pollen honey or clover honey.



Excerpted from Forbes:

“The position of the American Beekeeping Federation is that real honey must have pollen, but lots of other domestic honey producers disagree and ultrafilter theirs to remove the pollen, which helps keeps the product from crystallizing.


One legitimate fear is that countries like China use the ultra-filtration or ultra-purification processes to mask the origin of the honey, which is then transshipped [sent to an intermediate country and relabeled as a product of that country to disguise its real origin] and sometimes mixed with a small amount of pollinated honey, from say India, to throw off testers. Sometimes Chinese honey is cut with much cheaper corn syrup or fructose syrup to enhance profit margins, and sometimes Chinese producers even feed corn syrup to the bees to get it into the honey more “naturally.” The importation of Chinese honey was specifically banned because it is so often adulterated.


The American Beekeeping Federation is the industry group representing U.S. producers of non-ultrafiltered honey. They petitioned the FDA to create a “standard of identity” for honey

 the FDA summarily denied this request. While it told the federation that it shared their “concerns about adulterated and misbranded honey,” regulators chose to defer to Webster’s, literally, citing the dictionary’s definition as adequate: “a thick, sweet, syrupy substance that bees make as food from the nectar of flowers and store in honeycombs.”


One legitimate fear is that countries like China use the ultra-filtration or ultra-purification processes to mask the origin of the honey, which is then transshipped [sent to an intermediate country and relabeled as a product of that country to disguise its real origin] and sometimes mixed with a small amount of pollinated honey, from say India, to throw off testers. Sometimes Chinese honey is cut with much cheaper corn syrup or fructose syrup to enhance profit margins, and sometimes Chinese producers even feed corn syrup to the bees to get it into the honey more “naturally.” The importation of Chinese honey was specifically banned because it is so often adulterated.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Sad Case of Milli Vanilli

Rob and Fab

Welcome back, readers/listeners!

It's been a while. I know. Several factors come into play about the missing blog posts. But, it's mainly because, I believe I may having an existential crisis? 

At, least that's how it feels. I might need mood elevators...

But I digress. Let's get into this week's topic...Milli Vanilli and Frank Farian!

The Late 80s, Early 90s Were Weird

So, during our talk Sunni kept singing her version of "Girl You Know It's True." Not wanting this song to get stuck in my head, I tried to think of their other songs, but could remember them.

However, this was quickly remedied when I had an epiphany. Blame it on the Rain! That's right. That was the other song they had that was A-MA-ZING.


But what I think is funny is, some if you listen to the lyrics to some of these songs, they make no sense. 😂 Like, "Baby, love is stronger than thunder." And, he wants to spend his life with her, but he wants her not to forget his number. It sounds like they haven't even had a first date yet... Just so many unanswered questions about these songs. 

Yes, they were written by Frank Farian, whose first language is not English, but they make no sense.

The Swedish are famous making hit after hit, after hit in English. Hello, ABBA! But Germans...not so much.

Anyway. That's what I found to be funny. Because Frank Furian obviously created a juggernaut business of making artists lipsync to songs that had already been produced.

Lipsyncing as a Money Maker?

Who creating music and using more attractive faces to put it out was such a moneymaker? I feel like I've seen a movie about this.

It's about a songwriter to believes he's not attractive enough to perform his own songs, so he hires someone to be the face. And of course in the end, he realizes looks don't matter. Or some shit like that.

Either way, I think it wouldn't have been such a scandal had we known from the start. Did we even ever find out who actually recorded the songs? What's the name of that band? Where are they now? I need answers!

It's funny how so many people were butt hurt over this, meanwhile, the government has been lying to us for years, and they have no problem with that. But, again, I digress.

It's Time For Jerry's Final Thought

We've come a long way from Milli Vanilli. It's sad what happened to Fab, but Rob is still pushing, so at least there's a silver lining.

But, I believe transparency would've been better for these two. Nowadays, we want more transparency with everything, right? 

We want to know where our food is sourced. We want to know what our leaders are doing. We want to know how our money is being spent.

Well, here's a little transparency from me. We'll never have true transparency until we weed out the bad apples among us in all areas...business, politics, healthcare, law enforcement, education, etc We have a long way to go, people.

Until next week, Don't Get Scammed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Post BlackOut-Black Lives Matter-COVID19 and Other Traumatic Experience

HELLO!

Yep, it's been a while since we've had a blog post. And, there's a reason for that.

With everything going on in the country: the unfortunate, traumatic, unnecessary death of George Floyd, COVID-19, and president bent on dividing this country, a break from life was needed.

Now, I won't say I've spent that last few weeks in a stupor, but--with senses dulled is more accurate.

Sure, we've been trying to find ways to lift our spirits. Sunni's been active in her garden, growing corn, pumpkins, beets, and lots of wonderful and nutritious delights.

I've been trying to not go insane. I had partially taken to bed unless I needed to leave the house. It wasn't pretty. But it's how I maintained my sanity, and that's just what it is.

But we still recorded episodes--our latest being the blackout episode to stand in solidarity with the protests of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose life was literally crushed out of him by three policemen and one who stood idly by.

I wrote a poem about what he might've been thinking in his last moments. And, one day, when it's not so bitter in my heart, I'll read it aloud. But at this point I can't do it without crying, so...

For now, let's just keep it positive.

We've got some goodies to share with y'all in upcoming episodes. And by goodies, no, I don't mean free shit.

But some garbage people doing garbage people deeds. Such as an auto manufacturer that lied to the government to make a buck. We're working on some stuff for you guys. Our listeners.

Don't worry. Once the mental health is back to optimal functionality, the blog will be an entertaining addition to the podcast episodes.

But, for now, thank you for sticking around with us. It's been a GD rollercoaster.

Much love, and until next week,

Don't Get Scammed.

💓💓

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Guardianship Fraud and That Bitch April Parks

The woman who ruined the lives of hundreds of seniors, April Parks, laughs as she thinks she' going to get away with this shit.

Once again we convene in the pod room to talk about a lying bitch who ruined hundreds of people's lives.

Still on COVID-19 lockdown, but podcasts are considered essential in California so we continue to do what we do. As more than half the states have begun to re-open, it seems our stay at home order has been extended until May 30. So, the day drinking continues for many of those who can't go to work or don't have more pressing matters to attend to.

I to shows staring women of color that made me happy to watch.

Sunni gardened and was visited by the spirit fairy.

Disgusting Elderly Abuse and Fraud

This week we discuss April Parks. The succubus of Las Vegas. Or at least, that's what I'm calling her.

Imagine having someone come and kidnap your parents, or loved ones. You have no idea where they are and begin a frantic search for them. Meanwhile, some dickhead has usurped their finances, taken away their autonomy, and placed them in a facility where they know no one and are drugged day and night.

That's what happened to the people April Parks targeted.

She and her network of scumbags overtook the lives of senior citizens for financial gain, often leaving them destitute and with no one one their side to fight for them.

Sunni tells the story of a single man bereft with grief and an elderly couple whose rights were stripped from them  by April and her shitty co-conspirators and the like.

The only thing saving grace of these week's subject is that some laws have been changed and a couple of people got a little bit of justice. But the whole situation is garbage, and people who commit financial crimes against seniors, especially when it involves this type of negligence and abuse, can go straight to hell!

Until next week, don't get scammed.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Return to the Pod Room and Reefer Madness

Image by Herbal Hemp from Pixabay 
It's our latest installment, and I have returned from Utah, we have returned to the pod room, and we unpack the lies and deceit that led to the outlaw of marihuana, aka Mary Jane, aka reefer, the devil's lettuce, etc.

With Love From Utah

Yep, I'm back from my Utah trip. And, before you go off on my for "traveling" it was necessary travel that we'd been putting off for a while. 

My father-in-law gifted us, (hubby and me) a car. Mine was trying to give out, and before we were completely without transportation, he swooped in with a perfectly good vehicle that has saved my our desert-living lives.

Utah is a gorgeous place. I saw more FLDS people in person than I'd ever seen. Ever. I just wanted to grab those women and girls and say, "Come with me. I'll take you to California. You don't have to marry the profit." But, they'd probably look at me like I was an alien with three heads, so...

Meanwhile Back in the Pod Room

The chickens have been relocated to outside. Thank you, Jesus!

Aside from the risk of salmonella, and the light wafting of chicken essence, we were glad to be back. Our alternatives were few, and the crotch goblins can be hard to avoid when we're all in the same space during recording.

So thank heaven for small blessings.

All that's left to do is soundproof that bytch and put a lock on the door. Oh, by the way, have you visited our Patreon page yet? Check it out, and feel free to become a patron. We love our patrons!

Reefer Madness

In this week's episode, Sunni takes us on a journey of the history of prejudice against the cannabis plant and its applications.

From rope to clean fuel sources to construction materials, cannabis plants have a wealth of uses. 5000 to be exact. 

But of course, the rich, old, white men in charge did what they do best and put the kibosh on that. Since they had no stake in the cannabis industry, and instead of getting in on the ground floor, they put cannabis farmers out of business. Bastards!

They left a legacy for you and me, of fearmongering, prejudice and self-shame because the world adopted their inaccurate, blatantly false views on cannabis and the people who use it. So now, we and our children have to overcome stereotypes and bullshit ideas behind their greed and lies.

Enter Our Drawing and Win

We're still giving away a Book of Lies Podcast T-shirt! All you have to do is post about us on social and tag us on Twitter to enter. At the end of the month, Sunni will draw a name and you can rock our faces on your gut. Isn't that exciting? 




Anyway, this COVID-19 shit still has us social distancing. So do your best to stay safe and healthy. And, until next time.

Don't get scammed.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Wells Fraudgo and Covid 19 Masks



American money in different denominations
Image by NikolayFrolochkin from Pixabay 
Going into the third week of "Safe at Home" and week 2 of homeschooling these kids, and we're practicing physical distancing on the podcast this week.
In our first ever, Skype episode, we try to remember how last week went. I still have no idea how my week was. I survived, we survived. That's all I know.

Wells Fargo Bullshit and John Stumpf

Sunni brings us the story or Wells Fargo and the years of fraudulent accounts and bad banking practices co-signed by its former CEO John G. Stumpf.

Unfortunately the unsavory practices he allowed led to millions of dollars in fraudulent bank fees charged to customers, unearned bonuses and incentives earned by account managers and bank managers, and an ongoing lawsuit that may take several years to resolve.

That's why I don't bank with these old banks anymore. They charge fee upon fee, and their boiler room mentality allows for them to commit fraud and screw customers out of their hard-earned money.

My suggestion is to seek an online bank that preferably gives you investment options. I like Aspiration Bank, but I've heard good things about Stash banking.

Also, the Bank of Brandi is opening. We're a bank with no fees, but just know once you make a deposit, you can't make any withdrawals. And, your deposits will contribute to frivolous spending on extravagant purchases like wine and $20 Amazon movie rentals that would've costed $8 at the theater, but are now an arm and a leg to stream while we're all on house arrest.

Updates and Other Things

Last week we had the chance to do a sweet collaboration with our pals Cody and Christian at Nerds with Friends Podcast. And, we talked about none other than the juggernaut that is "Tiger King" with them. We got to relive the train wreck that has captured the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of Americans, and everyone in my Facebook news feed. 

It was fun. You should check them out and give them a listen.

Face Masks for Covid-19

The CDC has suggested the public wear homemade masks while in public. So, to help meet the demand for masks, I've started sewing masks. Send us an email if you'd like to learn how you can get a mask made by me. 

Of course you can use anything to cover your face, a bandanna or even a T-shirt can be used. But my masks are special because I made them. 😜

Homeschooling Elementary Schoolers

HELP!!

That's pretty much the gist for this one. We'll likely be spending the rest of our lives at home, not communing in groups, not eating out, going to the movies or the theater or concerts or bars. So, grab a glass or a bottle of whatever beverage tickles your fancy, and binge-listen to your favorite podcasts.

I've already started on one of my faves. Shout out to Kim and Ket Stay Alive Maybe

And, until next week...Don't get scammed.