The Grifter

I stumbled upon this video of Nick Pell on an Irish chat show. I follow Pell on twitter and read his stuff when I am made aware of it. He is one of us so it feels like the right thing to do. I don’t know much about Irish television, other than it is every bit as silly as American television. The difference seems to be about awareness. American chat shows know they are just entertainment, while the Irish still take this nonsense seriously. But, Ireland is basically Puerto Rico with crappy weather, so who knows.

Anyway, what got my attention was the gasbag on the panel named Colm O’Gorman. It struck me that he was running a version of the Jesus con. Sometimes called the Good Samaritan con, it is a classic hustle. The very simple version is the con sets up a scenario where he can come to the aid of the mark. A fake robbery attempt, for example. The con-man thwarts the robbery and the grateful victim rewards the con-man for what appears to be a selfless act of kindness. Old ladies are the typical target of this one.

The main difference between the Jesus con and the Good Samaritan con is that the former is relational, while the latter is transactional. You can only save the old lady from muggers once. You can be sacrificing for the starving children of East Dongo forever or until people figure out there’s no such place as East Dongo. Most charities are this type of confidence game. They pitch themselves as selflessly working in favor of some group of victims, in order to guilt people into sending them cash.

What got me thinking about this while watching the video is the way Colm O’Gorman put all of his efforts into making the issue personal. On the one hand, he kept calling Pell and the red haired woman repulsive and repugnant, then “excusing” them as well-intentioned but stupid. You can see that he practiced his lines prior to coming on the show, as he was clearly not making any effort to engage Pell or the woman. The point of his efforts was to personalize and isolate the two of them with ridicule to make them into bogeymen.

Then he wheeled around and spent a few minutes selling himself as the great champion of the alleged victims of Pell and the red head. At about the eight minute mark he does a little speech about how much he worries for the alleged victims of these two monsters sitting across from him. The list of victims is a bit comical, but that’s inevitable when the victims are imaginary. The hard part about running the Jesus scam from the Left is that they have run out of people who can plausibly be presented as victims.

Anyway, having spotted the grift, I looked this guy up on the google machine. His claim to fame is as an alleged victim of a Catholic priest when he was a teenager. He turned that into a lucrative grift, selling books and , wait for it, starting a charity that claims to defend victims of sexual abuse. A teenage homosexual carrying on with an older homosexual is not exactly new, but the Church has deep pockets and Colm is not the sort to give a sucker an even break. Now that all the juice is out of that lemon, Colm is into politics.

That last bit is not intended to dismiss the Church scandals. It’s just that normal people move on with their lives after suffering from something like this. The fragile cannot and the dishonest refuse to move on until they are paid. Maybe grifters like Colm are the price that must be paid to remedy these things, but that does not make him less of a weasel. His bio says he netted €300,000 from his lawsuit, but my guess is he netter ten times that by leveraging his victim status into book and movie sales. The Jesus grift can be lucrative.

The reason this may matter is grifters are good at sniffing out opportunity. Guys like Colm O’Gorman are not wasting their time fighting against anarcho-syndicalists, because there’s no money in it. He can’t shake them down and he can’t scare people with their specter. The alt-right, on the other hand, must strike these Progressive carny acts as a potential goldmine. That probably means the so-called alt-right has the wind at its back, at least for now. It will not be long before O’Gorman is demanding to share a stage with Richard Spencer. The Jesus grift works better when the Devil is on stage with you.


35 thoughts on “The Grifter

  1. The “tyranny of Nice ” . Pathologic altruism . ” Compassion is a mailed fist covered in the velvet glove of self interest”… These churchy groups make my flesh crawl….

  2. Back in 93 or so, I ended up sitting with a grifter at a dinner. He was working a scam that has become so commonplace that we scarcely raise an eyebrow about now: running some bogus charity, paying himself 85% of revenues then writing a check at the end of the year to a “legitimate” charity to meet the requirements of his state’s laws.

    At some point I was clenching my knife so tight and and so obviously about ready to cut this guy’s heart, that my friends had to intervene. That was in1993. In 2016, the Clintons pull the exact same scam and they almost make it back to the White House.

  3. Thanks for writing this. O’Gorman is LOVED by the irish lefty media (i.e. all of them). He’s doing very well for himself now – head of Amnesty International in Ireland, taking home a nice 6-figure salary. We have him to thank in large part for our new gmarriage laws. He also been on a cooking competition on Irish TV recently. The irony of him baking cakes seems to have been lost on the media here.

  4. My problem is that I admire successful grifters, so long as they behave legally. It is immoral to let a sucker keep his money, as Canada Bill Jones said many years ago. Excepting always the mentally disabled, like old folks being conned out of their retirement money.

    A great way to know if a person is a sucker is to see what cons he falls for. Is it any surprise that leftists fall for every scam there is from leftism itself to global warming and central planning? Oopsie, maybe I’ll have to exclude Lefties from the class of fair victims on the grounds of mental disability. Oh well.

    I should very much like to see a study done on the victims of fraud – are they more likely to be Democrats or Republicans?

    • “The believing mind reaches its perihelion in the so-called Liberals. They believe in each and every quack who sets up his booth in the fairgrounds, including the Communists. The Communists have some talents too, but they always fall short of believing in the Liberals.”
      …H.L. Mencken

    • Fred;

      You are partly right. It used to be well understood that most all con’s depended upon the cupidity of the mark (except for the Good Samaritan Con – a new one on me) to work. As in, “You can’t cheat an honest man.”, being literally true.

      For example, even the petty stupid are immune from the Nigerian Prince Con if they are not greedy for easy money that belongs to others. OTOH, one can be of high IQ & Social intelligence and fall for it due to low moral intelligence. I once had to spend a half-hour talking a Sr VP of sales out of giving HRH Temporarily-Down-on-His-Luck that Sr VP’s complete bank info in exchange for the promised $2 mil commission. Couldn’t f’in believe it. Sad part was I couldn’t share this hilarious story since the Sr VP was my boss and there would have been a price to pay if news had reached his frenemy fellow Co. officers: They’d have had no mercy on him at the time and he’d have made me pay later. His injury would have been only to his (undeserved) reputation but mine would have been to my income stream.

  5. Send me more money to “recount the votes” for the Green/Libertarian Party!!!!!
    Send me cash to “investigate” Russian tampering with the voting machines!!!!!

  6. This grifter mentality is not limited to charities and such. The same kind of manipulative thinking and operating can be seen in everyday business, education and politics. I’ve been around quite a few people who size up and research the people around them in order to now better how to get them to do and act in ways that they might not otherwise and in ways that are against their normal self interest and against good sense.
    In fact, I’d say that it’s more difficult to root these people out than it is the charity grifter.
    One sign that gives them away is that they are all narcissistic. If you can detect this in them you are halfway home.

    • This is a topic that is much broader than political con. Having been thrust into and now deeply embedded in the research of the alarming rise in psychopathy in this selfie obsessed world, I have been exposed to an often overwhelming number of stories. I began my research by reading Dr. Robert Hare’s book – Without Conscience – and there’s the crux of it – it’s not just narcissism that drives the con artists – it’s lack of conscience.

      This passion of mine has become a calling. I am, even as I type this, in another city helping someone navigate the muddy waters of being a victim of a psychopath. Honestly, the biggest obstacle is getting others to hear and understand what it’s like to have your life turned upside down by a grifter. Certainly the law is always far behind the reality as society morphs. I try not to get hysterical when trying to explain and still the average response is -”Just ignore him/her.”

      I’m well into another book – it’s just a collection of stories retold to me – different angles on the same old story – the working title is When the Ink is Dry. If I include all the stories it would have to be in two volumes at this point.

      • One other thing I’ve noticed is a tendency of them to ascribe mental incapacity or pschopathy to people who disagree with them. Keep in mind most of the people I’m talking about are physicians and most of the ones I’ve come in contact with are surgeons. In almost every case about a year or so after hearing one of them talk this way about someone they do something crazy themselves. It may be that other things are being done, but it has taken me that long to notice. At first I usually, like everyone else, find myself impressed by them. Then I notice an overreaction to some disagreement or slight, then comes the accusation of psychopathy, but usually of someone other than the person they are reacting to. Next thing I know they are in rehab, more often than not for anger management or bipolar disorder. Then they either move on or come back to work calmed down by drugs.
        Folks, this is another reason I’m against licensing. It is there to protect the profession, not you. In.a sane world these guys would not be practicing. A real market would snuff fuckers like this out.

        • And this is one of the markers in identification of mental disorder. In every case, thus far, that I have studied, high on the list of behaviors is transference. They always accuse others of exactly how they behave. In the crunch I can narrow it down even further – they are so deep into their own alternate reality they accuse others because they assume everyone thinks as they do.

          • So helpful. I’m trying to figure out the mechanism underlying cognitive dissonance (doublethink), projection, hypocrisy, automatic defense, taking offense, hypocrisy, smug proselytizing, supremacy, ignorance of consequence, and unreality.

            I know these are all of a piece, but it still hasn’t gelled. You just helped a great deal, thanks.

        • The Soviets cut right to the end game and put all the “crazies” who disagreed with them in mental institutions or gulags.

  7. More than two comments or sentences, it’s a setup. Then asking for money, definitely grift.

    Good warning, Z, watch out for the Dick Armeys.
    (The R Congressman who grifted Tea Party.)

    Also thanks for being the someone to finally call out the May-December queers. Good lord, I was hit on hundreds of times. “Young and impressionable” my ass. More like Gay Divorce Court.

    Still, if the moistly earnest start flocking, that might mean that the alt-right is about to go mainstream. Preference cascade, heck, preference tsunami I hope!

    • As you may remember the Tea Party began as grass-roots Ron Paul supporters (’07-’08). After Ron Paul was neutralized it was quickly co-opted by talk radio (I remember both national and local talk hosts happily proclaiming themselves ”The leader of the Tea Party!”) and because she was attractive and didn’t yet have the GOPe stench about her, Sarah Palin. By 2010 it had been fully transformed into GOPe ‘astroturf’ and was effective in returning control of the House to the GOP and getting Cruz and Rubio into the Senate (’nuff said there). One thing the ‘Alt-right’ actually has going for it is the fact that it was a reaction to the GOPe cucks and incorporated a segment that talk radio/GOPe naturally finds repellant (Vox Day dubs them the ‘Alt-White’ faction personified by sites like The Right Stuff and The Daily Stormer).

      • Grass roots insurgencies like guerrilla insurgencies, are notoriously difficult to beat without counterinsurgency strategy and tactics. The Cucks thought they where being smart co-opting the bling of the Tea Party. All they did was create a much more hardcore true foundation and determined resistance and defiance. We know why the Cucks are faustian domestic enemies, but they sure squandered a golden opportunity. But that is why they are Cucks. The Cucks got what they wanted in the short term, they went by the old models of realpolitiks, they cashed in on the lucrative aspects, gerrymander in a way, but all along a core of dirt people where never effected by the bait and switch, they just moved on. Usurping the Tea Party, along with the betrayal of 2010, and their associates on the left pulling their usual stunts, and the media, they created Trump.
        Trump is a master gaslighter, he is playing the entire status quo like a fiddle, it doesn’t matter what he does as long as it is offensive, like the travel ban. He is doing to the political class what they have done to us dirt people all along. Throw something out, create a meme, when it creates back blast, pull back but not all the way, that way you at least a piece of what you wanted, rinse, repeat, like how the statists erode the 2nd Amendment, a nibble at a time. But in trumps case, because the agenda and motives of the enemy are dishonest and illegal, he also no matter the outcome of an executive order or congressional action, it sheds the light of truth on the status quo, it brings heretofore forbidden truths into the mainstream. It’s beautiful to watch. A side benefit is it makes all the astroturf like riots and the violence of the left look exactly like what it is, false flag and crisis as means astroturf.

        • I actually see Trump in a slightly different light, but I could be all wrong. He trademarked “Make America Great Again” four years ago, and has been working on his platform ever since. Notice that all of his positions are supported by the public, typically 60% or more (and the media refuses to poll his positions, because the polls will not support their “destroy Trump” agenda). This is no accident. Typical right-left politics is a bundle of positions taken as advocacy of a political philosophy, meshed with loads of lobbyist and PAC money. Trump threw all of that out, and said “what do the people really want?”. One third will go hard left, one third hard right, but what about that middle third, what do they support? So you get a platform that is a mish-mash, without clear political outlines. Stop illegal immigration, stop gun control, it’s OK to be gay, more charter schools and vouchers, fewer foreign wars, back the police, take better care of veterans, mend-not end-Obamacare. This is all poll driven, not push-polls that try to get people to support a given conclusion, but real polls. (To be continued).

          • Those look like very valid points Dutch. And as you say, there is a sea change in the electorate that is very difficult to explain satisfactorily in it’s entirety. You can see aspects of it from any number of perspectives, and they all reveal a part of the truth, reality, but nothing fills that blank of unknown unknowns.
            I think after reading your comment, it helped me understand mine, and what I was getting at is the answer lies somewhere in it is a movement, or a preference of people who are in a kind of flux, that the core of the “right” leaning Americans know what they are about, what they prefer to have happen which is based on their will and the freedoms and values, or traditions, but do not want as a rule, a radical redress to take place. Even so, the “left”, is using radical means, entirely dishonest means, with great malice and forethought, they are shit stirring every social trigger they can get their meathooks on to gain the offensive and intimidate all who dare to defy them. It is only reasonable most “righties” pause at the spectacle, and say in their heart of hearts, is it necessary we go there but for our grace and civil tendencies? And in that heart of hearts know if it comes to a fight, it is gonna get real ugly. Even as it is ones duty to stick up for themselves, their values, even to having to stick up for the color of their skin, the reasonable, the common sense, thing is well sure if I have to no problem, but who in their civilized mind wants to go there? It is not cowards or timidity. It’s realistic thinking. I mean who in their right mind, no pun intended, wants to tear this great country apart if at all possible. That’s basically throwing the baby out with the bath water to put it mildly.
            The left is trying to bait the right into a fight in order to cause chaos, in the hopes it can impose it’s brand of order on the right. Thats Astroturf on crank with a vengeance. Where the right is plain old mind my own business leave me alone vanilla grass roots dirt people. The wise thing is to let the left beat it’s brains out on the brick wall. And give it all the irrelevancy and illegitimacy it deserves. Let it make a complete idiot of itself. And be prepared nonetheless to exterminate them if they manage to jump the shark. After all, to a lot of us dirt people, this leftist shit and all their baggage is getting really old. They are only fooling themselves.
            Maybe I’m projecting too much of my personal perspectives into this.
            Make sense to you?

          • Yup, totally. The mistake people make, especially on the left, is thinking that Trump is getting in there and picking a fight. He is quick to slap down those who pick a fight with him, but his underlying M.O. on the politics is that he is coming at things from an entirely different direction. People such as Pence and Thiel get it and sign up enthusiastically. The left-right political fight interests Trump not in the least (IMHO).

          • Seems like President Trump is doing to main things. He is honoring his pledges to Americans, and call me a monkeys uncle for saying it, but I get this wild notion the guy is flushing the enemies of this republic by dumping so many actions as quickly as possible to keep the enemy knocked back on it’s heals, in doing so they have to play by his rules, it causes them to have to act out of sequence, rush things, and it exposes them and they make mistakes and misjudge events.
            What is happening as a result everyone can see what stinking rats they truly are in the light of day. Trump is crazy like a fox, good crazy, and under the charm and sincerity, ruthless. He has set a trap and they are walking right into it. I’m thinking he knows just how entrenched and nasty the actors behind everything going down are, that to defeat this enemy, these grifters, he knows the only way it can be done is with a vast majority of the people behind him, with him really.
            I think also, Trump is a master delegator, he is a people person, and an accomplished experienced leader. And how you win is to unite people in a common cause.
            If you look at his nominations, he has picked uniquely astute leaders, people who have a solid track record of getting things done, people who have a certain courage of their convictions. Thats character. He also knows, if his comments are an indication, a people in solidarity doesn’t have to agree on everything, they only have to be united in a mission and be results orientated.
            This is an incredible time to be alive. Trump has essentially poked a hornets nest with a flame thrower. Looking at it, how else can you begin to win against the people out to destroy this country. It’s sound strategy really. Don’t let your enemy rest for a second, keep them off balance, roll up their flanks, and then hit them in their rear. Hit them hard enough they begin to loose cohesion and make serious mistakes.
            By law and rights, Trump can go after the ring leaders and the key instigators anytime he chooses. If he does, he is going to need overwhelming support of the dirt people. Which sure seems like he is garnering.

        • Now Trump has also taken a couple of very interesting positions. He wants to expand the freedom of religion to refuse to participate in certain health care initiatives, and to speak freely about politics. He wants to allow people to refuse gay customers (and I assume also to refuse straight ones instead, if that is where your business is positioning itself). These are fundamental to freedom of religion and freedom of association, and Trump is going with a liberal and expansive interpretation of these freedoms, in a bold and unexpected fashion. Expect also to see the permission of abortion, but not in the final trimester, with health care professionals and organizations permitted to opt out altogether, and no federal funding of abortion. This combination threads through where public opinion lies. This is not right-left political business as usual. It is something completely different, it is responding to the crowdsourced preferences of the American public.

          His blustering persona obscures what is really going on here. There have been a couple of “amateur hour” moves here and there, but they are learning to calibrate their actions on the fly. The Midnight Tweets are a bonus. What other major political figure speaks from the top of his head, in an unvarnished fashion, in real time? I wish others would do so, though we might be surprised about what they really think. Imagine what Merkel really thinks?

          • Interesting you mention public opinion. I’ve read his son in law and Steve Bannon are using data from a rather sophisticated metrics software system somebody in the organization developed which takes data from all social media and shows what the actual pulse of the people is free of the filter of the legacy media. It is very accurate by accounts.

          • Those tweets are precious tactics. Talk about controlling the message, its using your enemies weapons against them. There is almost nothing they can do to counter it. Everyone who tries to tweet him back looks like an idiot. Because they are acting like idiots when they do.

  8. >>Ireland is basically Puerto Rico with crappy weather<<

    The modern way is for me, as a proud descendant of De One Troo Muster Race, to take offense at this.

    In fact I howled with laughter.

    400 years? Wah wah wah. The Irish don't need lectures about oppression. But that was then.

    • I really enjoy Ireland, Mrs. Dutch is part Irish (O’Neill), and it is a very beautiful and tragic place. It is still riven with complex and hard-to-understand rivalries, but the people, for the most part, have let them go for the time being. But they never forget past offenses and transgressions. The people of Ireland are a fantastic mix of every imaginable type. Just don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time, saying the wrong thing, or you will get your face ripped off. In general, the Irish love the Americans, because most of them are over here. Our English friends and relatives can’t fathom why we would enjoy spending time in Ireland, as they view the place as a flea-bitten hellhole of a place, populated by maniacs. Regaling them with our Irish adventures is a lot of fun.

  9. That Jesus grift shows up all over the liberty movement. The so called 3 per centers is a particularly juicy target. Look how the Tea Party was grifted. But the big players, from the United Way to SPCA, to the Red Cross, they got it down pat. The Clinton Global Initiative. (anyone remember HRC absconding with 234 million in cash from the Childrens Fund back in 07?) Some of them spend a few percent on window dressing charity.

    • It’s why I’m naturally suspicious of guys selling books, speeches and whatnot, claiming to be spokesmen for the alt-right.

      • What you have to look at is The Alt-Right like The Tea Party will remain grass roots no mater how or who hijacks it, it is the crux of the idea which makes them what they are, simply because it is grass roots. In a fashion looks to me Alt-Right is part of the evolution of freedom just as the Tea Party was, and the alt-Right was not possible without the pogrom waged against the Tea Party. It’s that motive power and audacity, can’t be stopped, kind of like Trump, he is more representative of something much larger than him. All these nebulous movements, their visible components get co-opted in some way to somebodies or somethings ulterior benefit, especially in the information highway world we have. But they are insurgent and open source and are always in a state of evolution. You can see how the Alt-Right is evolving, if you have a gut feel for what it is, it is easy to watch and understand the core catechisms remain unaffected, it is the people around them that change and evolve. As it is said the Alt-Right is a zeitgeist not a per say organized movement of people.
        Think about it right? Those millions of Tea Partiers, they didn’t one day spring up out of barren soil, and then stop being Tea Party people after DC. I know, I was there, I saw and was part of that amazing gestalt. Most evolved, became a little wiser, most understood how much they where feared. How powerful as a plurality they are. But there are always suckers as PT Barnum pointed out, and cunning people to grift them for whatever motives or intended agenda. I think once a grass roots movement reaches it’s own specific mass, it crosses a threshold and gets a boost from a cascading of preference. I think also the Alt-Right will eventually turn into Not-Alt, it will gain mainstream legitimacy, (if it hasn’t already, and nobody has noticed yet). My thinking says the Alt-Right is our times Colonial era Patriot of pre Declaration of Independence movement, that comprised the people and motive power of rebellion against that times statist powers that be. Alt-Right is an alignment of thinking of a grass roots underground in it’s early stages of insurgency. It has enormous potential if it reaches that critical mass. Because it is so purely open source, it is so easy self identifiable, it has a natural immunity, everything done to usurp it, grift off it, undermine it or destroy it makes it stronger. Nothing can touch it. It’s that kind of thing. It is becoming a kind of 4th generation political guerrilla war on the entire scope of the left. If you understand Colonel Boydd’s theory behind his strategy and tactics of his OODA Loop, you can see why the Al-Right is feared so much. Trump is a fantastic example of political OODA Loop.

      • Since the alt-right doesn’t have leaders, there are no spokesmen….In fact, the alt-right is an alliance of the alt-light (Milo and other free speech advocates), the civic nationalists (V-Dare, Gavin Mcinnes, et al), the Alt-West (preserving western civilization, Vox Day and many others) and the Alt-White….

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