‘The person under discussion sounds as if she might be out of touch with reality… Granted, she shouldn’t have taken a job and money reserved for Native Americans, but had she somehow convinced herself that she was one?’

Put aside the ethical problems with professors who lie about their race/ethnicity, and thereby incalculably hurt other people and groups and the value of truth itself; ask yourself whether the problem with such people is not that they are contemptible, but that they are insane.

A person commenting on a New York Times essay on the latest identity fraud (this one’s a woman who claimed to be Native American to get ahead in academia) goes there: Is it not plausible that a person capable of spending her entire adult life pretending to be someone she’s not may be mentally unbalanced? Indeed, don’t we all expect to encounter Christs of Ypsilanti and Napoleons of Boca Raton only in institutions?

This woman, and Jessica Krug, and probably other fraudsters like them, went victimization-theft one better and harassed actual black and Native people they knew because the fraudsters found them inauthentic. Just as each of the three Christs impugned the Christness of the others.

Which is a real method in the madness thing, ain’t it? Talk about diverting attention from your own, er, lack of identity-evidence — look at that faker over there! And that one over there!

*********************

When personal, belligerent, enactment of minority identity becomes more important than intellectual legitimacy… well, you get what you wish for. You get the performative professoriate; you get high-kicking Jessica Krugs putting blackness over on… on almost everyone.

Yes – all of these tired pathetic tales feature non-insane observers attempting to point out that the political steam issuing from the head of the department firebrand is BS. But y’all know how love is…

We hired Jessie in a fever

Hotter than a pepper sprout

We been talkin about Jessie

Ever since the fire went out…

Yet many of you would hire her again; and the latest Krug remains in a good academic job, and keeps getting published by (wait for it) the same press that published Krug. Even though everyone at this point knows she’s a truly vile liar.

It’s kind of like – if American academia likes brazen amoral liars that much, what’s it got against Donald Trump? Why does it think academia is superior to Trumpland? Both places promote people – even nutty scuzzy people – who satisfy deep dark desires. Trumpland’s just more honest.

“[Community Health Systems] made $511 million in net income last year, a big swing after four straight years of annual losses. That strong financial result led to the company’s top executives earning millions of dollars worth of bonuses …”

And I’m sure we’re very happy CHS did so well (its CEO made $9.1 mill ), though when you read the fine print it turns out they did it through a wily combination of government handouts and suing – during a pandemic – patients who couldn’t pay their bills.

These sorts of suits are such a disgusting practice that almost no other hospital chain files them.

CNN interviewed more than a dozen people sued by CHS hospitals. Most said they had tried to communicate with the company’s lawyers, collections agents or the hospitals directly and found them unresponsive or unwilling to agree to a settlement they could afford.

Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins University professor who has studied hospital lawsuits around the country, said CHS was far more litigious than most hospital groups, and that the company’s financial aid policy didn’t go nearly far enough. “It’s like Marie Antoinette saying, ‘if somebody came to me begging for food, I would give them cake,'” Makary said. “It’s completely blind to the relentless, aggressive, predatory nature of debt collection on the ground.”

(One simple form of self-defense for some patients involves checking yourself out of the hospital. “[A patient being sued] said in an interview that his bill came after the hospital kept him longer than he had wanted.” You’re almost always free to leave a hospital when you want to – check out the AMA option. If you feel comfortable doing it, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars, and spend less time living cheek by jowl with those pesky hospital-borne infections.)

Carma

One Injured After Hummer Stockpiling Gasoline Cans Bursts Into Flames In Florida

The University of Miami Medical School: A Lasting Legacy of Sleaze

With its latest accomplishment – caught by the feds stealing gobs of money in a wide range of inventive and patient-anguishing/bankrupting ways – UM Med maintains its national position as America’s most corrupt medical school ever. With a rogues’ gallery of leaders and doctors, the school has, over decades, enriched itself in ways so deeply and consistently depraved that at some point you have to grant it grudging credit for having utterly transformed a place of healing into an abattoir. The state of Florida is to be sure already the USA’s epicenter of elderly people and medical fraud; it took decades of clever planning and moral squalor for UM to make itself the epicenter of the epicenter.

“Tens of billions of dollars are lost annually to fraud, waste and abuse, and Miami is the Medicare fraud capital of the United States,” [the whistleblower’s attorney] said. “Today’s announced settlement and the schemes described in the DOJ press release are ironic considering they were committed by an iconic South Florida institution under the leadership of the former Secretary of Health and Human Services [the appalling Donna Shalala], the very agency that promulgated the Medicare rules that were violated.”

Wanna know exactly what they did? Details here.

As if our universities’ Greek system needed more bad …

publicity.

And explain to me why the sorority had no idea these two declared bankruptcy in 2016. They started stealing right after that – obviously a way to fix the bankruptcy problem. But why didn’t the sorority know? A three-second Google search produced the bankruptcy record.

Pretending to Educate Underserved Children for Fun and Profit…

… is a ruse as old as the establishment of charter schools in this country. You set them up, everyone applauds, and then you systematically loot them while the schools manage the best they can while wondering where the federal money went.

Someone’s always being caught and going to jail for this particular scheme, high-flier David Scott Glasrud being a recent case. Glasrud started stealing as soon as he established his first school, and no one stopped him until fifteen years and millions of dollars later.

At least Glasrud spent his ill-gotten gains on educational materials – a Maserati, a Porsche, a mansion, and gambling in Las Vegas.

Now there’s young, far more high-flying, Seth Andrew, a real best and brightest type with degrees from the Bronx High School of Science, Brown University, and Harvard’s school of education. Why did he steal from his charter schools? His wife is a rich high-profile media figure. He has plenty of money.

Or does he? It’s possible that in his world (see Bonfire of the Vanities) a family worth of only, say, five million plus is appalling, humiliating, fully unable to purchase the sort of Manhattan condo (plus Hamptons getaway?) you need to live your best life now.

Not that the $200,000 he allegedly stole is more than a drop in the bucket in Andrew’s world; but UD’s thinking he just needed a leeetle extra to get the mortgage he was after, so he pulled that particular teat. Silly way to ruin your life.

The Republican Party has Solved the Problem of Who Will Inherit the Mantle of Donald Trump.

Jonathan Pentland, come on down!

No one watching the video can doubt the party has found its man.

*************************

UD wonders about the person who chose to film this short feature from what seems to be a whites-only gated community in South Carolina. I mean, if it was a fellow gater filming in order to make a formal complaint to the community’s board about the development’s… border crisis … could this person not have anticipated that it might go viral? Or does its release to the world suggest that the film-maker was, au contraire, fascinated by the remarkable… clarity of this encounter?

‘John Boehner, the Republican former House speaker, issues a stinging denunciation in his new book of Donald J. Trump, saying that the former president “incited that bloody insurrection” by his supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the Republican Party has been taken over by “whack jobs.”’

True, and true.

“There was a Vivian Gornick interview in Bookforum recently in which she was asked about some of the mid-century American writers that were considered great. She said she doesn’t ‘know one young person who reads Roth, or Bellow, or Mailer — not one young woman anyway.'”

And Philip Roth’s biographer responds to his interviewer’s quotation from Gornick in exactly the right way:

I think that says more about Vivian Gornick’s social circle than it does about women collectively.

I mean. Jesus. Let’s keep ’em away from Henry Miller, James Joyce, Hemingway, and Don DeLillo too. Wouldn’t want to expose them to great fiction!

And let’s hope Hadley Freeman’s social circle is a lot larger than Gornick’s.

[E]njoying a novel is not dependent on approving of the deliberately flawed characters, or its similarly imperfect author. There are many things that make a book good – elegant writing, emotional truth, narrative voice – besides its morality.

And of course there are plenty of great novels – Lolita, Notes from Underground, Journey to the End of the Night – whose immorality intrigues us.

Everyone Steals.

There’s a popular children’s book called Everyone Poops; UD has one in mind called Everyone Steals. Seriously, do you know anyone (yourself included) who hasn’t stolen? If I didn’t already know that almost everyone steals, sometimes at a high level, the keeping of this blog over many years has certainly drummed it into me.

And my focus hasn’t even been billionaires (“Whenever people say, “Oh he earned his money himself,” I always say the same thing: “No one earns a billion dollars. People earn $10 an hour; people steal a billion dollars.”), but rather universities and university people. Universities, where you might think rates of simple theft – much less systematic looting – might be less impressive than in corporate, for-profit, settings.

And I mean, for all I know they are. But I also know that alongside academic institutions historically laced with larceny (Yeshiva University; the University of Louisville; several others), there are zillions of institutions — especially those blessed with this nation’s biggest sports programs — thick with thieves. To really see the depth of embezzlement, though, look beyond the wowza money corruption of big-time school sports and consider the sweet li’l Varsity Blues scandal, full of people like the crisply outfitted tennis coach at Georgetown University, who in his pre-carceral days taught the Obama girls how to play. Relentlessly, over many years, with the help of various co-conspirators, he shook down parents desperate to get their dim spawn into Georgetown. Gordon Ernst made millions in this way.

Or like the soccer coach at UCLA who, with a years-long, mob-like persistence identical to the Georgetown tennis coach, charged rich desperadoes $100,000 a pop to sleaze their kids in. He explained to the judge that, you know, he bought a house he couldn’t afford.

“MY CHILDREN FORCED ME TO BOOK AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT”: THE TED CRUZ STORY

Cruz news cycle not over yet.

Cancun?

Cun?can.

*****************

These are only the best memes.

There are thousands of others.

It’s not often that the workings of amoral, self-protective elites are laid wide open for us.

But in the earlier case of Oxford’s amazing, protracted, attempt to protect/retain Tariq Ramadan, and in the current case of France’s Sciences Po so intently protecting/retaining Olivier Duhamel that the head of the school (who knew all about plausible child rape and incest charges against Duhamel) has just resigned over the scandal, we are afforded a remarkable opportunity to see how elites work, and of course to see why ordinary people hate elites.

[Frédéric Mion] said he was alerted to the allegations in 2018 by a former culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti. He said had no taken action because of the lack of tangible evidence and because Mr. Veil told him it was only rumors.

[Yes, because you can’t have a chat with your buddy about maybe he raped his kid unless you get videotape. Plus a crony told him to ignore it.]

But in a phone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Filippetti said Mr. Mion had called her after the accusations were made public last month in the book and said, “We shouldn’t let anyone think that we knew.”

[Elites lie, and expect others to lie with/for them.]

Ms. Filippetti said the call had “chilled” her.

Back in 2018, she said, she trusted Mr. Mion to “at least” remove Mr. Duhamel from his position at Sciences Po.

“You can’t just sweep everything under the carpet when it comes to something that bad,” Ms. Filippetti said.

*****************

Sure you can; sure you can. Duhamel is a big-shot full of fine ideas about compassion and justice; you’re going to dump him because of some no-account fourteen year old kid?

A Passage that Could Have Come Right Out of Nabokov’s Lolita.

Ms. Kouchner’s evocation of summer days at the family property on the Côte d’Azur is powerful in its evocation of a false idyll: tennis, meals, Scrabble, wine, laughter — as well as nude bathing in the swimming-pool, touching under the table and mockery of bourgeois sexual constraints.

How often, in Nabokov’s novel, Humbert Humbert evokes the nauseating contrast between a privileged sunlit world and the clandestine rape of a child by her step-father. Camille Kouchner’s memoir recalls the incestuous assaults on her brother by their step-father, the high-profile political pundit Olivier Duhamel.

*************

Human beings do get up to some crazy shit. Kouchner’s mother was a radical lefty (longtime lover of Castro) whose anxiety about being mistaken for sexually conventional apparently exceeded her anxiety about whether her husband was sexually assaulting her son.

One account of the now-national scandal ends with Kouchner quoting one of her father’s (Bernard Kouchner) favorite sayings:

“Between the strong and the weak, it’s liberty that oppresses and the law that liberates.”

For decades – assuming the charges against him are true – Olivier Duhamel enjoyed the particular freedom of the French elite, protected by powerful friends who knew about the incest and didn’t care. But he also benefited from a larger, stylish, subversive, liberty – often, in actuality, a cruel personal license – long associated with debased versions of revolutionary ideologies. Duhamel’s “liberties” oppressed a helpless child; now, decades later, that child goes to the courts, to liberate himself.

****************

Deep structure of all this? Start with Michel Houellebecq.

‘“If anybody starts threatening the lives of members of Congress on the Democratic side, we’d be the first to eliminate them from committees,” Ms. Pelosi said.’

The House of Representatives has successfully ousted would-be assassin, The QAnon Lady (no one seems to want to lower him or herself to utter her name, so I’ll go along with that), from both of the committees to which this mental and moral defective had been assigned.

The … uh … people in Georgia who elected her to Congress are free, of course, to do that again and again, although without any committee assignments her function in that body will be largely symbolic. She will symbolize the very worst of America.

Or – I mean – I know it gets even worse than The QAnon Lady, but she’s in Congress and all.

********

Can’t help wondering what this gun-toting madwoman will encounter in terms of, you know, daily social interaction at the Capitol. Republican members will be fine with her – they seem to love her, or at least pity her or something – but Democrats might be hard-pressed to be pleasant. I’m thinking social distancing will be the key, long after covid.

We all know what it’s like, in work settings, to avoid Mr or Ms Mount Vesuvius, the person liable to erupt at any moment from out of the depths of their obscure rage. I think it will be like that – people will be giving The QAnon Lady a very, very wide berth. When she feels in need of human contact, there’s always Mar-A-Lago.

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