Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Fool's Gold Standard of Grifting


Behold, the 2014 KIA Optima EX

What does this have to do with the paranormal, you ask?

Nothing, in a direct sense. But if you encounter a grifter who claims to be super poor and in desperate straits, but who not too long ago leased one of these cars (and bought lots of other swank goodies as well), you might want to think twice about donating to him and his fool's gold radio program.

Caveat emptor, in other words.

Why does this matter? Because poverty is a very serious and real matter in the United States (and Canada). When a low-life grifter and con man takes advantage of the inherent good nature of people by claiming to be poor when he drives a new car, makes his calls on an iPhone, and subscribes to Netflix, he makes it harder for people who want to help the actual poor to get anyone to listen.


Los Angeles, 2011.

Anyone who would take advantage of the cause of the poor by begging for money in a public forum to support his middle-class lifestyle deserves any public shaming and scorn that comes his way. What he doesn't deserve is your sympathy or your cash.

Paul Kimball 


18 comments:

Sapient said...

Thanks for the wake-up call.

Jack Sprat said...

Paul, have the entries on the RR site/blog entitled "The GS Debacle" and "GS Responds" been removed from the blog? I don't see them with their accompanying comments on the site, though the site itself is still up. Thanks.

Paul Kimball said...

Jack,

I just had a look and it appears they took the posts down. That happens at that blog from time to time.

Paul

Jack Sprat said...

Why do you think it happened? I swear, that man seems to wiggle and squirm his way out of the light every time it shines on him. Do you think an explanation will be given by UFO Iconoclasts? I know that sounds presumptuous of me, it's RR's full right of course, but the word about this man needs to stay out there. By the way, great post yourself on the subject, and that brand spankin' new bright silver 2014 Kia Optima EX with Premium package looks great. I wish I had one.

Paul Kimball said...

I'm afraid I have no idea why Rich Reynolds takes things down from time to time. I have always sort of viewed his blog as more of a psychological experiment for his own edification / amusement than anything else - he likes to post stuff, get a reaction, and then sometimes he removes it. It does seem odd that he took it down, but who knows?

I've removed a few posts in the past as well. I think all bloggers do. Maybe RR was just bored with the subject.

PK

P.S. Yes, they make some nice cars now at KIA, particularly when you can really spruce it up with the Optima Package. :-)

Dan t said...

This kind of shit really bugs me. I had a brief back and forth with him on a forum awhile back. The man (read: sorry excuse for) comes close to making me sick. I asked him why he is spending money on a netflix account. Answer: Something along the lines of "Why do people begrudge me a luxary that most other people also have? Its not like its a lot only $7 a month." If you are as broke as he claims $7 is a pretty big fucking deal. I've had some hardtimes and having or not having 7 or 8 bucks would determine if I ate that week. When you really are poor you cut the damn fat and things like netflix go out the damn window, because, every dollar counts, literally. I told him this, and his response was a repeat "why do people begrudge me a luxary" I asked him why he did not leave the paracast and get an actual job. I specifically mentioned walmart. Answer: "I could get a job at walmart but there is no future in it so I would rather not, besides the ad revenue from the show provides me with an income equal to a walmart job." What? Two quick points;

1. Why the fuck are you begging for donations from strangers if you have an income source that provides you with money equal to that of a walmart job? It is not easy to live on an income that meager but it is doable, I did it myself for years. Its called living inside your means. I did not have a cell phone for years. I had no car, I either walked or took the bus everywhere and I sure as hell did not have netflix, didn't even have a tv for christs sake. I also became quite the connoisseur of ramen noodles.

2. As for there being no future in a walmart job...fuck you Gene. If you really are poverty stricken you take what you can get. I worked at walmart fulltime for three years, while also going to university fulltime. Between food and school supplies there were some months when I was barely able to pay my rent. I always managed to squeak by though, because I cut out pretty much anything that I did not absolutely need.

Also, no friends or family knew just how tight things usually were as I sure as hell was not going to burden them with my problems and the idea of trying to get money from total strangers never entered my mind.

Gene, speaking as someone who has been poor, I find you very offensive. Worse yet, the way in which you comport yourself is a slap in the face of people that truly are in dire straights.

Get rid of the brand new car. Cancel shit like netflix. Pick up whatever tattered remnants of your pride that you have left and stop acting like some kind of human tapeworm feeding off of the kindness and pity of others.
------------------------------

Paul,

This comment is overly long, I kind of went on a rant there. As you said poverty and the homeless are serious issues and my blood starts
to boil a bit when I see someone whose actions are a total insult to the people who actually do need help. Don't post this if you feel it serves no purpose. Keep up the great work, I discovered your podcast not long ago and it is great.

-d

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the comment - you're spot on! None of this would be an issue if Steinberg wasn't constantly begging and hitting his guests and co-hosts up for loans (although to be fair I don't know if he does that anymore, but he sure did back in 2009 - 10 when I was briefly associated with the show).

Glad you enjoy the podcast. Hopefully I'll have some new ones available this fall... but unlike Steinberg, I have a real job and real responsibilities in the real world, so that's the priority.

Best,
Paul

Dan t said...

Hi Paul,

I don't know about the guest and the cohost,but I can say that as of a couple of months or so ago he was still sending out his "newsletters" to his mailing lists. I don't know if he still is as I finally got sick of the damn things and abandoned my old email address some months back after numerous requests to be removed from the mailing list were ignored. I did notice that he no longer has a gofundme campaign and he has also removed the paracast forum thread "please help gene" in which the campaign was heavily discussed, interesting. Perhaps he is trying to change his ways. Although I think it is more likely that the he realized that gushing over his expensive new car on a public forum while also publically claiming extreme poverty was pretty damn stupid.
-d

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Dan,

Take it from me - Steinberg will never change his ways (something anyone who has half a brain and an ounce of integrity will realize after prolonged exposure to him), so it's definitely the latter of the two possibilities you raise.

Thanks for commenting.

Paul

Dan t said...

Hi Paul,

I just wanted to get your opinion on something. It seems that the whole paranormal celeb emergency funds fundraisers have caught on. About a month ago a post about a fundraiser for Barry Taff and just now a fundraiser for Lorn Coleman came across my news feed.

I am not against the idea of asking for help but the whole paranormal "celeb" fundraiser that steinberg started leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Honestly, I do not know for sure what taft and colemans situation is as I stopped reading in disgust as the info for both of them seemed like they were trying to say that we should feel obligated to help them because they "have done so much for the field we love and should not have to be in this situation" I don't have a problem with helping someone in need, but, I do have a problem with someone trying to make people feel obligated to do so because we enjoy the same hobby. So, I was just looking for some perspective I guess as the whole situation seems a bit hinky to me.

-d

Gene Steinberg said...

More fiction and fear-mongering.

I've already gone through this nonsense about the car. Long and short: I was already making car payments, looking to refinance at a lower rate. Dealer was able to get me a new car at a lower interest rate, with a lower monthly payment. And I didn't have to make the first payment for 60 days. This came at a time when it looked like my money prospects had substantially improved. I have since refinanced the car at an even lower interest rate, with another 60 days payment freedom.

Besides, a Kia is a lower-priced mid-sized car, often sold at a deep discount with lots of dealer incentives and cheap financing deals. The net transaction price was much lower than list (and I also got a generous trade), and even the list price is lower than the average price for a new car in 2014. Expensive my eye!

Sure, it will be years before the car is paid off, but it's the monthly payments that matter now.

If I knew the money problems would return (I had made some nice long-term ad deals at the time that fell through when a big company went kaput), I wouldn't have done it regardless. I understand the optics of the situation. But my psychic powers failed me.

So the second guessing here and a few other places by the same people is just downright foolish. What is done is done, and let's move on. I hope the adults in the room are listening.

And, no, I wouldn't refuse a job at Walmart, but it wouldn't make sense to work 40 hours a week, at $8-$9 an hour, and give up the show and the ad revenue that actually is more lucrative. But I will accept something reasonable as a part time job and I haven't stopped looking for opportunities. We're now offering an ad-free version of the show now that the network gave us permission to do so for a small subscription rate. So the problems will inevitably end.

Besides, anyone who ever had a question about my financial situation was free to ask for specifics and documentation. The people who complain the loudest never bother to ask. People who don't want to donate to me or anyone else don't have to. They can also stop reading the requests. Nobody is holding their feet to the fire. This is just absurd!

OK, folks, back to the fiction and the fear-mongering.

Peace,
Gene

Paul Kimball said...

The mind boggles.

Gene Steinberg said...

For reasons you can't grasp obviously.

Peace,
Gene

Paul Kimball said...

It's called self-respect. You should try it sometime.

Gene Steinberg said...

Let's talk about self-respect, OK?

Yours.

Your article advances the agenda of someone who, after promising to behave himself and act professionally, has staged a relentless multiyear hate campaign against me with private threatening letters, public rants, and personal phone calls and emails to other people attacking me. He has also warned me not to trust you, calling you a "snake."

So do you want to be the one who gives such behavior credibility, or just accept the fact that people have financial difficulties from time to time and do what they can to survive. It doesn't mean they are being "grifters" or dishonest.

You may approve, or not approve, but you can't walk in my shoes.

Peace,
Gene

Paul Kimball said...

Please, just go away.

Gene Steinberg said...

Stop talking about me, stop posting nonsense about me, and i'm gone. You can start by removing this post and concentrating on real stuff.

Your decision.

Paul Kimball said...

You're a fraud and a grifter. I've never had a problem with calling people out for that. The post stays, and folks can make up their own minds. The comment thread, however, ends here. You can try and con people with your rationalizations on your own site. Hopefully you've at least stopped hitting guests up for loans.