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« on: January 23, 2012, 02:10:01 AM »
As to pyramid schemes:
Many pyramids are more sophisticated than the simple model. These recognize that recruiting a large number of others into a scheme can be difficult so a seemingly simpler model is used. In this model each person must recruit two others, but the ease of achieving this is offset because the depth required to recoup any money also increases. The scheme requires a person to recruit two others, who must each recruit two others, who must each recruit two others.
The "8-ball" model contains a total of 15 members. Note that unlike in the picture, the triangular setup in the cue game of eight-ball corresponds to an arithmetic progression 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15. The pyramid scheme in the picture in contrast is a geometric progression 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 15.
Prior instances of this scam have been called the "Airplane Game" and the four tiers labelled as "captain", "co-pilot", "crew", and "passenger" to denote a person's level. Such schemes may try to downplay their pyramid nature by referring to themselves as "gifting circles" with money being "gifted". Popular scams such as the "Women Empowering Women" do exactly this. Joiners may even be told that "gifting" is a way to skirt around tax laws.
Whichever euphemism is used, there are 15 total people in four tiers (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 ) in the scheme - the person at the top of this tree is the "captain", the two below are "co-pilots", the four below are "crew" and the bottom eight joiners are the "passengers". The eight passengers must each pay (or "gift") a sum (e.g. $1000) to join the scheme. This sum (e.g. $8000) goes to the captain who leaves, with everyone remaining moving up one tier. There are now two new captains so the group splits in two with each group requiring eight new passengers. A person who joins the scheme as a passenger will not see a return until they exit the scheme as a captain. This requires that 14 others have been persuaded to join underneath them. Therefore, the bottom 3 tiers of the pyramid always lose their money when the scheme finally collapses.
Wow, very interesting, too2, to say the least
Consider a pyramid consisting of tiers with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 members.
No matter how large the model becomes before collapse, approximately 88% of all people will lose.
If the scheme collapses at this point, only those in the 1, 2, 4, and 8 got out with a return. The remainder in the 16, 32, and 64 tier lose everything. 112 out of the total 127 members or 88% lost all of their money. During a wave of pyramid activity, a surge frequently develops once a significant fraction of people know someone personally who exited with a $8000 payout for example. This spurs others to seek to get in on one of the many pyramids before the wave collapses. The figures also hide the fact that the confidence trickster would make the lion's share of the money. They would do this by filling in the first 3 tiers (with 1, 2, and 4 people) with phoney names, ensuring they get the first 7 payouts, at 8 times the buy-in sum, without paying a single penny themselves. So if the buy-in were $1000, they would receive $56,000, paid for by the first 56 investors. They would continue to buy in underneath the real investors, and promote and prolong the scheme for as long as possible in order to allow them to skim even more from it before the collapse.
Other cons may also be effective. For example, rather than using fake names, a group of 7 people may agree to form the top 3 layers of a pyramid without investing any money. They then work to recruit 8 paying passengers, and pretend to follow the pyramid payout rules, but in reality split any money received. Ironically, though they are being conned, the 8 paying passengers are not really getting anything less for their money than if they were buying into a 'legitimate' pyramid which had split off from a parent pyramid. They truly are now in a valid pyramid, and have the same opportunity to earn a windfall if they can successfully recruit enough new members and reach captain. This highlights the fact that by 'buying' in to a pyramid, passengers are not really obtaining anything of value they couldn't create themselves other than a vague sense of "legitimacy" or history of the pyramid, which may make it marginally easier to sell passenger seats below them.
Pyramidal schemes are cult-like environments, with those on the top being those who do nothing but lie and win, and the further down you go the more suckers, who lose everything, you find ...
What I wanted to point out, though, is that the hierarchical structure that the current social order entails can well be likened to a pyramidal scheme.
So basically, when members receive no more benefits (there's no more money to be distributed to the people down the line) the brainwashing kind of thing stops working and the whole pyramidal scheme falls?
Or, to draw another parallel, when oil reserves of the Persian Gulf are denied access to the Western countries, and going to war proves too damn costly in the long run - our economies are bound to collapse, since they are relying on stealing from other countries' resources to keep the standard of living artificially high - all in accordance with the social Darwinism kind of philosophy, that for every a winner there is a loser?
Will you walk me to your car, could you expand a bit on this other parallel you draw?
« on: January 23, 2012, 02:04:47 AM »
Kevin Coe, born Frederick Harlan Coe on Feb. 2, 1947, is a convicted rapist from Spokane, Washington, often referred to in the news media as the "South Hill Rapist". He has been in custody since conviction in 1981. Starting on September 15, 2008 the State of Washington held a "civil commitment" trial before a jury wherein it argued that he should be declared a sexually violent predator and confined indefinitely; jury selection began that day, and testimony commenced September 29. As of May, 2008, he is still a suspect in dozens of rapes. His notoriety is due to much more than the fact of his statuses as a suspect and convict. The number of victims he has been suspected of having raped is unusually large; his convictions received an unusual amount of attention from appeals courts; his mother was convicted for hiring a hit man against her son's judge and prosecutor after the initial convictions; and the bizarre relationship between Coe and his mother became the subject of a nonfiction book by the widely read writer on crime, Jack Olsen. "Sins of the Mother" is the title of the movie depicting the story.
Dale Midkiff plays the role of Kevin Coe
In 1981 Coe, a radio announcer by profession, gained regional renown when he was arrested as the suspect in up to 43 rapes which had been perpetrated in Spokane between 1978 and 1981. Many of the rapes involved an extreme level of physical injury to the victims, and the police suspected them to be the work of a single offender, who came to be dubbed the "South Hill rapist". It was suggested that Kevin was mad at his mother for treating him like dirt, and that he was displacing his anger towards her onto his victims, the women he raped and hurt.
Ruth was a total lunatic, overbearing, very protective of Fred - she's rightly portrayed in the movie as the tragico-comical woman she was.
She was a stupid b i t c h, indeed.
My impression is Ruth just couldn't help it - that's the way she was! She's under the impression she could do whatever she wanted to, manipulate this, manipulate that, no matter who that person was! Couldn't have acted differently with Kevin too!
« on: January 23, 2012, 01:10:04 AM »
By Avi Klein
Alger Hiss once remarked to his son that "three years at Lewisburg penitentiary is a good corrective to 3 years at Harvard [Law School]." It is hard to know exactly what he meant by this — Hiss (codename: Advokat) was, after all, a communist spy — but he was neither the first nor the last lawyer to suspect there was something fundamentally wrong with legal education. As Hiss's behavior suggests, law school has the ability — some might say the intention — to engender greed and intellectual myopia, sometimes from the very first day. Young, creative, ambitious men and women, fresh from four years of liberal arts education, enter law school eager to make a change in the world. They leave as dedicated corporate functionaries, consumed with money and prestige, and fearful of upsetting the legal establishment. Law school breaks people. It is experienced as a trauma, an assault. If law school changes people, it is rarely for the better.
What neither of these two styles of book manages to do, however, is seriously discuss what it is exactly that makes law school so unpleasant. To understand law school — and therefore the grassroots of the legal profession — one has to first grasp the economics supporting it. Litowitz, a professor at Ohio Northern University with a short career in corporate law, stakes out space few practicing attorneys are willing even to survey: The system is designed and sustained by corporate law firms in order to create just the right number of lawyers to fulfill corporate demand, but not so many that the fees of established lawyers are at risk of competition. At the same time, by failing to adequately teach these same lawyers how to actually practice law, and by saddling them with huge debts in the process, the legal establishment scares young lawyers into cowering submissively before the awesome power of the organized bar and the licensing authorities.
[...] Students worry that they aren't smart enough, that they aren't competent enough, that they won't earn the grades they need to pay off the average $80,000 of debt the average law student accrues. They begin to hate what they are becoming, yet fear alternative paths. Although only ten percent of incoming law students report mental health problems, forty percent of graduates do. The self-hatred begins in law school classrooms, where the Socratic method — a ritual of subjugation that purposely disables a student — is still used, even if it has softened a touch since Turow's experience in the 1970s. Each answer solicits a further question, until the student is forced either into a mistake or into admitting in front of his peers that he is ignorant. There is a strong element of sadism in the Socratic interchange. It uses fear and shame as a motivating force, which is easier than motivating people with ideas and worthy goals. Instead of learning out of intellectual interest, students study as an insurance policy against being called upon. If the Socratic method was actually an effective pedagogical device, the costs might be worth the benefits. But, it has absolutely no merit other than as a way to establish a power differential between the would-be lawyer and the already established one. Socrates himself didn't use it to teach — it was just a conversational tool he used on his friends. After all, the teacher is the one who is supposed to explain things to the students, not the other way around. [...]
By using the Socratic method and emphasizing the case study approach — law school textbooks are mainly compilations of appellate decisions, not original teaching material — law professors fail their students both intellectually and professionally. At graduation, the student knows much about appellate court opinions on various complex matters, but to the exclusion of any practical knowledge of how to actually practice. Students know the difference between a 'fee simple absolute' and a 'fee simple subject to condition subsequent,' but they don't know the first thing about how to write a will that takes these concepts into account. Contracts classes rarely involve looking at one. One can even graduate law school without learning how to format a word processor to include line numbers on the margins. Compare this to medical school, where graduates have spent two years in hospital rotations assisting in surgery and delivering babies, and it is easy to call the typical recent law graduate a licensed fraud.
If there was a conspiracy to commit such a fraud, it would begin with law school and end with the bar exam. Developed in the 1910s in the same fervor of WASP anti-Semitism that motivated the Ivy League to overhaul its admissions procedures, the bar exam has served ever since to boost lawyer salaries while reducing the numbers of skilled lawyers available. Although there is absolutely no evidence that the ability to pass the bar is related to how well someone practices law, there is an aggressive psychological element not unlike fraternity hazing that helps perpetuate the system. The bar exam is a rite of passage by which the hopeful lawyer-to-be shows his willingness to do anything to please the state bar authorities in exchange for a license. This humiliation is complete with a bar disclosure form that rivals the CIA's in its comprehensive invasiveness. [...]
One additional distasteful characteristic of the bar exam is that it artificially deflates the number of minority attorneys. First-time bar passage rates for African-Americans are only 61%, compared to 90% for whites. While law schools have aggressively developed affirmative action programs for both students and faculty, the bar associations have not succeeded in meeting the needs of minority communities. [...] For many young corporate attorneys, the firm is a sweatshop, and their own labor is merely legal-ruled piecework. The law is crowded — interesting — and full of despair, wrote Archibald MacLeish to his parents after a few disappointing years as a lawyer. It offers its own rewards, but none other. [...] Lawyers suffer high rates of mental illness, job dissatisfaction, alcoholism and drug abuse, and divorce. Sandra Day O'Connor calls them "a profoundly unhappy lot." Mitigating all this personal unhappiness, of course, are the fat paychecks lawyers receive each month — it is hard to feel too sorry for them. The real losers here are the millions of Americans who can't afford the legal representation they need. [...] We are used to thinking that America has too many lawyers. The truth is, the lawyers we have are just the wrong kind.
Avi Klein, an intern at "The Washington Monthly," is licensed to practice law in Maryland. He never has.
I think it is very important to see law professors
deciding to quit teaching law to their students, in an effort to make public aware what law and lawyering really means.
« on: January 23, 2012, 12:29:05 AM »
That petition would take years to mature into an actual green card, but we all were optimistic nevertheless; and there you have it - in April, my husband gets that notification letter from the NVC letting him know he had won the D-V lottery. From that point on, we were concerned that the Consular officer would accuse my husband during the interview for misrepresentation because of my hubby having claimed me arbitrarily as his wife on the NVC forms (initially in February when originally applied for, and then again in May) - given the fact that we only got the marriage license 4 months after he made the statements on the NVC forms (August). We remained anxious 'til the day of the interview, April of next year, but the Consular Officer was surprisingly over-friendly towards us, with him granting us the immigrant visas and without inquiring at all as to our marriage timing.
Now on to legal staff - Yes, you have made misrepresentations amounting to immigration fraud, if that's what you really wanna know. There's no doubt at all that the officer (Consular officer) was aware of the fact that your marriage began legally after your husband claimed you as his wife on the NVC Forms.
However, by law, not all misrepresentations result in a person's automatic ineligibility for a visa. In order for an alien to be ineligible for a visa based on fraud or misrepresentation, the following elements must exist:
1. There has been a misrepresentation made by the applicant.
2. The representation was willfully made.
3. The alien uses fraud to receive a benefit under the Immigration Act (i.e. visa, entry into the U.S., labor certification, adjustment of status, etc.).
4. The fact misrepresented is material. If the misrepresentation is not "material," the person may still be eligible for a visa.
Truth-be-told, we were anxious also because we could not disclose to the Consular officer that the two of us had lived in a neighboring country for some time - my mother-in-law paid a friend of hers for us to be issued two brand-new passports, so that we did not have to show at all the neighboring country's entering visas we had gotten during the years on our old passports. We had been on and off illegally in that country, so we could not get clearances from that country's police for the time period we lived there. This is something that almost all the people who win the American green card lottery do - it's not smth we did to hide some kind of "major crime" committed or anything like that. We were hearing that those people who admitted to the Consulate that they had been in other countries, besides their home country, were required to submit police clearances from those neighboring countries' authorities, something difficult and time-consuming, since we had also been there illegally - the way such a thing is handled in our native country is to simply pay the municipal employees for a new passport (easily accomplished and for not too much money) and then appear with the new passport before the Consular officer.
We also arranged for (fake) Employment Verification Letters where it was stated by (fake) employers that we had been employed in our home country (having had, thus, lived there all the time), so that it would appear that we had not been outside our home country at any time (to put it differently, we covered gaps in our employment history). These latter two are done regularly by almost all people who win the lottery in our country, and the consulate people themselves know deep down themselves that such things happen all too often.
In determining whether or not a person made a "material" misrepresentation, the following rules apply:
a) The misrepresentation must be a positive or affirmative statement or act made by the alien. "Silence or the failure to volunteer information does not in itself constitute a misrepresentation"
b) The alien's misrepresentation must have been before a U.S. government official (i.e. a U.S. Consular Officer or an INS Officer). Misrepresentations made to officials of other countries' governments may not constitute "misrepresentation" for purposes of finding a person ineligible for a U.S. visa.
c) If a person made a misrepresentation, but timely retracted that misrepresentation, then a "timely retraction will serve to purge a misrepresentation and remove it from further consideration as a ground for...ineligibility."
d) Only misrepresentations of material facts constitute grounds for ineligibility of a visa.
e) 'In order for a misrepresentation to be considered "material," the truth of the matter (or alien's circumstances) must lead to a proper finding of ineligibility for a visa. However, if the truth would still support a finding that the alien is eligible for a visa, then the misrepresented fact is not material.
The Immigration starts deportation proceedings against thousands of aliens who entered the United States through misrepresentation or fraud. Examples of such misrepresentation include the use of false passports, visas or even the failure to disclose marital status or children. Discovery by the INS of an alien's misrepresentation usually happens at the alien's "green card" interview. When discovered, the INS officer will inform the alien of the availability of an I-601 waiver (pardon) for this particular violation of immigration law.
Now, this piece of neighbor * & ^ % keeps telling me what we've done is considered "fraud." I mean, come on, a lot of water has flown under the bridge, not to mention the fact that we have by now 2 children born in this country (US citizens). Do you think we might be having problems were someone to reopen the case and note these "minor inconsistencies"?
« on: January 23, 2012, 12:27:57 AM »
Wow - some great posts related to immigration matters here. My husband and I came to the U.S. on immigrant visas after hubby won the D-V (Diversity Lottery) several years ago. I was not legally married to my husband (had not yet gotten a marriage license) by the time he got the notice he was assigned a visa lottery. Neither did we legally married when he sent the first response to the (NVC) National Visa Center shortly after. We only got legally married in August of that year, 4 months after he listed me as her spouse on the NVC forms. The reason why I did not legally marry to my husband from the very beginning (since I began to live with my-hubby-to-be, in August) and my mother left for the States (September), was that I was counting on my parents who went to the US to get me too there, after my permanent resident mother (she won a D-V Lottery the year before) would have hopefully arranged something for me; although all she's able to do, in actuality, was just petitioning on my behalf in January of next year - she filed the I-130 with INS, immigrant relative petition for an unmarried child 21+
Excuse me - just to make sure I'm getting this right - why did ya have to find a man (the-hubby-to-be) after your parents immigrated to the States?! Why couldn't you stay single and wait that way for the time to come to join your parents?! I would have to go ahead and assume you're from some kind of Muslim country where women are expected to have "their man"! Are you guys afraid there men will harass, rape and kill you, were you to walk alone in the streets?! Hell, you even say you found him in August, just one month before your parents would leave for the US - pardon my French, but wouldn't one be justified to go on a hunch and say that your people arranged for you to engage 'a nobody', somebody very likely beyond your level, just because time dictated that?!
But then again - it's just doesn't add up - from what I know, in these countries, where women are considered to be their man's property, living temporarily with a man as husband and wife is frowned upon and is considered unacceptable. You are flat out saying that that was basically your plan - were your parents to have arranged in some type or form for you to go to the US, you would stop living with him right away to join your parents in the States. Unless you were some kind of SuperGirl who didn't much care about notions and taboos, you'd still be faced with your own country's people who more likely than not would not see your previous arrangement sympathetically. In fact, that's what your hubby might have counted on - that you would not, in actuality, leave him, reason why he tolerated at first when agreeing not to enter into a marriage contract (in the hope, that with the passing of time, he'd get there - the important thing was that he got you in hand, getting a much better deal than he could have ever dreamed of). As for America, little did he care, although he'd eventually get that as well, sooner or later, via you.
I'm kinda perplexed as to what kind of "arrangement" this was, with this "hubby-to-be," as you call him. You are saying it yourself that the petition that your mother filed on your behalf would take years to materialize into a green card - would you continue on the concubinage path with your boyfriend/husband/whatever you choose to call him? Would you have any children with him? I would assume No, since your wait time to immigrate to the US would be even longer. So all these sacrifices (because they are considered to be "sacrifices" in those countries) just to be able to come to the US - and then, when immigrants actually arrive here, they figure it out how wrong they were to have made all those insane decisions, back in their native countries where/when they thought America was the "land of milk and honey"!
Was all that worth it?! Spending years with a man beyond your level, compromising your real marital (and probably) professional life, all these in the name of a dream (America)? Or even worse, ending up with that very man, just like it turned out, when that Cheetah was handed a stupid lottery?!