Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Tale of Two Charlatans

I finally got something I wanted for Xmas: Grief vampire Sylvia Brown(e) blasted in the media, online...
"Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight – three women who went missing over a decade ago and were presumed dead – have been found to be alive. This item especially interested me because in 2004, on the totally irresponsible Montel Williams Show, “psychic” Sylvia Browne told Amanda Berry’s mom that her daughter was dead, causing her great shock and sorrow. And the mother, Jouwana Miller, went to her grave believing – only on Browne’s word – that her daughter had been murdered. She died in March of 2006, and friends were of the opinion that her passing was hastened by Browne’s totally uninformed and callous guess…"

Her non-explanation for this unfortunate lapse:
“I am so relieved that Amanda Berry and the other women have been found and are safe with their families. Of course I do feel very bad telling Amanda’s mother on the show that I believed her daughter was not alive, and I’m so so glad that I was wrong. I had a vision of her being held underwater, but I had interpreted it to have a different meaning. She was not being held under water but was being held down.” 
“Only God is right all the time but of course I’m wrong. But after 50 years of doing this work, I’d better be more right than wrong. I always say I hope I’m wrong. When it comes to this, I hope I’m wrong.”
Keep on hoping. What's especially rich is hearing other psychics blast her. (professional jealousy, perhaps?)

The Daily Beast

Here's the study Randi mentioned:
"This article is structured in terms of known and unknown outcomes. The criteria for a correct prediction is that it mostly matches a case referenced in a newspaper, and the criteria for a wrong prediction is that Browne’s claim is the opposite of what actually occurred. The metric for the final accuracy count is based on what is correct compared to the unknown or wrong claims. As this article shows, in the 115 available cases Browne was correct zero times and wrong twenty-five times."

BTW, John "Biggest Douche In The Universe" Edward [no letter 's'] was recently profiled on Glenn Beck's site. Strange world.


In other glee-filled news, John "Dickless" McCormick has been convicted of fraud:
"A jury at the Old Bailey found Jim McCormick, 57, from near Taunton, guilty on three counts of fraud over a scam that included the sale of £55m of devices based on a novelty golfball finder to Iraq. They were installed at checkpoints in Baghdad through which car bombs and suicide bombers passed, killing hundreds of civilians."
Doubtful News

Eight years? He got ten:
"The biggest customer was the Iraqi government, which spent over £85m on thousands of the devices from 2008 to 2010. McCormick, who still insists he hasn't had customer complaints about the efficacy of the devices, also claimed in court to have sold them to the military in Kenya, Egypt, the prison service in Hong Kong, and border control in Thailand."
The Register

Meanwhile, in Thailand:
"Fraud charges are likely to be laid against Thai agencies which bought bomb and drug detectors from a discredited British firm... McCormick made an estimated 50 million pounds (2.1 billion baht) from sales of the device in countries such as Pakistan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Thailand."
Bangkok Post

Meanwhile, in Iraq:
"The Justice Department has warned against buying a variety of products that claim to detect explosives at a distance with a portable device. Normal remote explosives detection machinery, often employed in airports, weighs tons and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The ADE 651’s clients are mostly in developing countries; no major country’s military or police force is a customer, according to the manufacturer. 
“'I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,' General Jabiri said. 'I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.'”
A legend in his own mind. I predict an unexpected detour in General Jabiri's career. Not that I'm psychic. Anyone care to guess how many people are dead because of this man and the denial of others?


And finally, back in the UK...
"An unemployed man has been convicted of making fake bomb detectors in his garden shed."

How many charlatans is that now?