The Grift Giveth, the Grift Taketh Away


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    This piece is not linked anywhere I can see on the OT main page, except via your tweet that is embedded in the sidebar. Is something going wonky? Is the piece just scheduled to be published later today?Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      There is an ongoing intermittent issue that appears to be a caching problem. Sometimes stale copies of the front page and/or post pages get served up. The State of the Discussion page seems to be largely immune.Report

  2. Avatar Dave says:

    To add to this sad Greek tragedy of grifter theater, Loomer’s current insistence that she must fundraise to cover the incurred debts from staging these displays of human stupidity speaks volumes. She is the worst kind of grifter; an incompetent one, who in publicly complaining has let everyone in on the con, making it harder and harder for her to run her game. Laura Loomer’s problem is not Google, Lyft, Uber, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, “Big Tech”, or any other malicious forces. Her problem is Laura Loomer, maker of poor life choices, to say nothing of her business decisions.

    Time will tell, but I don’t share your optimism. People like Loomer are always going to have a long line of morons willing to support her. Hell, this country elected an incompetent businessman that sold himself as a competent businessman despite the extraordinary evidence to the contrary.

    There are too many suckers out there to assume that the worst grifters will fall by the wayside.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The problem in this case if grifters is that there an audience for them. Shakespeare in the Park is an import event but it is still only seen by a some thousands of people. If the trolls just left it alone, it would be forgotten. But negative partisanship runs so high that grifters can earn good money by “owning the libs.”

    During a Jacob Wohl troll prank going bust, a writer at Vox had a good tweet thread. He theorized that today’s young cons only know the world of trolling and “owning the libs.” They don’t know how to do anything else. Amanda Marcotte theorized that the GOP realized as much of its agenda as possible so owning the libs is the only thing left.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      I think the Wohl prank, like O’Keefe’s before him, demonstrate their underlying stance.

      Which is that the claims of minorities of unjust treatment, the claims of women about harassment and trans people of indignity, are entirely bogus, a fairytale concoction of grievance to gain illegitimate power.
      So when they try one of these double reverse gotcha stunts, its always halfhearted, because they themselves don’t really believe it.

      So to them, it doesn’t matter if a claim is valid or not, since its all meaningless gamesmanship.

      Like the way they are treating the Northam scandal, where the underlying issue of white people treating black people with indignity is wholly irrelevant, so they simultaneously condemn Democrats as racists, but scorn the issue of blackface as some sort of silly PC trifle.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I think they are bad-faith actors but this grift feels different than Theranos to me. Theranos was a grade A grift and lots of people feel for something that was too good to be true. But I can kind of see it because who wouldn’t want a huge technological jump in medical diagnostic tests?

        The various right-wing grifts require people who hate liberals so badly that they start to believe all their cliches on snotty latte liberals. Grifters like Loomer and Wohl are also enabled by people who are not fully committed to “owning the libs” but come from right-leaning backgrounds/families and themselves as brought into cliches about latte liberals and snide college students. There are former OTers like this and I think they are smart enough to know better and they often are but they can still fall into stereotype about how all liberals are hypocrites because….

        What is fascinating and hard to parse about people like Wohl and Loomer is how much of their political views are sincere, how much is feigned, and how they figured out how to be the grifter and not the mark. Wohl, Shapiro, and Loomer ostensibly have a background and raising that is more like mine (upper-middle class, largely secular, urban/inner-ring suburban, Jewish) than the heartlanders whom contribute to their funds to “own the libs.”Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          I don’t think Theranos started out as a grift. It started out as a typical tech startup, with an idea for a product that didn’t pan out. The problem was that Holmes was narcissistic enough to insulate herself from reality, and charismatic enough to suck people in. It evolved into a right wing rich person affinity scam, once the “George Schultz is on the board, so this must be solid” factor kicked in. But even at that late date, I’m not sure that Holmes didn’t believe her own line of bullshit. If so, is is really a scam, or something that is functionally identical to a scam, but with the spice of sincerity?Report

  4. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    hey remember when people said this site was conservative-leaning and not really a safe space for discussion of liberal issues by liberal personsReport

  5. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Loomer told The Daily Beast to “Fuck off.”

    No idea who Laura Loomer is and haven’t read the rest of the article, but as of this sentence, she seems all right.Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    If nothing else, a grift doesn’t buy an office building off Sand Hill Road and fill it with ten-million-dollar medical laboratory machines.

    I think it’s what it looked like: A woman and her boyfriend tried to turn a crack-brained idea into reality and wasted a whole lot of money trying. She’d never been allowed to experience failure, and he was used to the tech-industry method of releasing a broken beta version and calling that success, so they both honestly believed that everything was going to come out all right up until the end when everyone quit.Report