Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bad Argument: "Shoehorning"

Metal shoehorn
Metal shoehorn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ever run into people where every piece of data was somehow reinterpreted to someone "confirm" their world view, even though it has no relations at all, or even means the exact opposite? If so, you've encountered "shoehorning".

A "shoehorn" is a device, usually metal, but can also be made of hardwood, that helps you slip your foot into a relatively tight shoe. (see right). In this usage, we are talking about making unrelated facts, often a piece of news, fit your particular world view.

Here is an example. Say, you have a view that government is evil, in cahoots with "big biz". You run into this news that "government shuts down huge Ponzi scheme". Your reaction is likely to be "Government is just out to crush competition to big biz".

However, if you have a view that government is a force of good, and you run into the SAME news "government shuts down huge Ponzi scheme", then your reaction is likely "good job, now the victims can be compensated".

In other words, this is basically confirmation bias, except with current news.

However, shoehorning can get a bit drastic, and in a certain context, completely out of touch with reality.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Zeek Receiver has an update: watch out for liars

ZeekRewards receiver Ken Bell has an update to all victims... and those who took and is trying to take advantage of the vicitms. I've bolded a certain few sections.

September 13, 2012
Many of you are asking what the Receiver has been doing since August 17, 2012.
Among a great many other tasks required by the Court’s Order, we have made it the first
priority to secure Receivership Assets.  As of today we have secured nearly
$300,000,000.00 in Receivership Assets.  There may be tens of millions of dollars more of recoverable assets.
 This process will take time, and I ask your patience while we seek every recoverable dollar for victims of Rex Ventures Group LLC.  While many of you
are understandably anxious to begin the claims process, we simply can’t do that until we
are reasonably certain we have recovered all assets from which victims can be
compensated.  This process will take months, if not longer.
Among those from whom we intend to recover assets are those affiliates who took more out of Rex Ventures than they put in.  Many of you received little or nothing from this
enterprise.  In order to make everyone as whole as possible, those who profited from
participating should surrender their gains.
We hope to soon post an information template for you to complete.  This is not an official
claim form, but it will allow us to begin collecting your information for future claims
processes, and better enable us to communicate with you.
Finally, I read in many emails and web postings that some affiliates claim to have spoken to me or the SEC.  False information is being circulated by these claimants.  I have not spoken to any of those claiming to have done so.  I will communicate with you through this web site.  If I could answer all of the hundreds of thousands of emails and calls from you I would, but obviously I can’t.  I also recommend that you consider only what the
SEC posts on its web site for its position on this matter.
Thank you for your patience and support as we work for the benefit of all victims of Rex
Ventures Group LLC.  I commit to keeping you as informed as possible.
Kenneth D. Bell

Read on for my analysis

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Genre Analysis: MLM and... mobile phone service?

English: metroPCS store, 618 South Hewitt, Yps...
English: metroPCS store, 618 South Hewitt, Ypsilanti Township, Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Genre Analysis is my personal opinion on a particular genre of network marketing, like MLM + penny auction, or MLM + daily deals, and so on.  

You can mix MLM with almost any business that needs a lot of consumer-level marketing. A long time ago there was Excel Communications selling long-distance via MLM. More recent years there was ACN (which even got on "The Apprentice" TV show for a while). Then there's Lightyear Wireless MLM a couple years back. And now, launch of Solavei, another wireless MLM.

Does the genre make sense though? Let's find out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Whatever I say (about your side) doesn't apply to me / my side" fallacy

When a defender of a suspect scheme want to throw out some sort of "conspiracy theory" that would explain why his opponent is on the wrong side, their logic often does not stand up to scrutiny, because they clearly meant that it doesn't apply to their own side, but not why not. This is best illustrated in an example:

S: The Big pharma would never release medicine that actually CURES conditions because they are out to make money! If it cures the condition, they will no longer make money!  Therefore you should buy (my miracle cure) instead!
Did you see the problem?

Why doesn't what he said, about "seller of cures are all liars because if it actually cures anything they would be able to sell any more", apply to whatever HE is selling?

Yet all sorts of scammers are using this explanation to "insinuate" that their own "miracle cure" is somehow "better" than the "big pharma" drugs and treatments.

This is a variation of "pot calling the kettle black". It is best classified as a red herring, because it neither proves nor disproves "(my miracle cure) works."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ponzitracker Jordan Maglich Update on Zeek: much bullsh__ being spread

The securities lawyer who covers Ponzi for, Jordan Maglich, who operates his own "" website, has an update about Zeek.

Here's some selected highlights:
Emotions have run high since Zeek’s shutdown, as many lament their losses amid what was such a promising operation that seemingly defied the age-old “if it’s too good to be true..” mantra.  However, a select (and growing) group has taken their dissatisfaction to another level, soliciting the assistance of other victims to fight the “illegal” and “unlawful” actions taken by the SEC.  While their rousing rhetoric is critical of the SEC, recent representations made regarding the SEC's handling of the case may have crossed the line from opinion to misrepresentation.  Indeed, an SEC official briefed on the claims by Ponzitracker explicitly refuted such allegations.
In other words, someone's telling people LIES about the SEC.

But wait, there's more!

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to deal with people who disagree: 4 types you need to know

Beware of trolls
Beware of trolls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a critic of scams and potential scams, I very often run into people who don't agree. They generally fall into four categories:
  • Sincere arguers -- they don't agree, but they are polite and point out your mistakes, and when you point out their mistakes they'll concede that you had a point, and you narrow down to where there's not enough data and what is there can be interpreted either way, and call a truce.
  • Misguided enthusiasts -- they are sincere about their disagreement, but they're not so polite, and often repeats what other people say without critical thinking, and often they don't react logically as well, esp. when you point out they used fallacies, or red herrings, and some such.
  • Scammers -- they know they're lying or using fallacies, but they don't care. When you point out their problems they may turn into trolls, or just leave (in a huff?)
  • Trolls -- they're just out to rile you, not to really defend anything
So how do you deal with them? Depends on which type they are. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012