Four ridiculous villains who are way worse than Ryan Braun

Okay, I get it. Ryan Braun is scum. He lied (to his fans, his friends, and his employer), threw regular Joes under the bus, sleazily played the race card, and cheated in a sport that was nearly ruined a decade and a half ago by cheating.

After all that’s gone down in the past couple of years, his recent statement finally admitting that he took performance-enhancing drugs was a giant yawner — like hearing that the Chicago mob controls the outcome of the Miller Park sausage races. It’s troubling and abhorrent, but how important is it, really, at this point?

The only way this story could get remotely interesting again is if Braun’s head suddenly grew to the size of Smart Car or he flew into a ’roid rage and split Cecil Fielder open like a tauntaun during a frigid late-season twilight doubleheader. Barring any such developments, I’m officially out of the Ryan Braun outrage business.

Besides, if you’re a Brewers fan and haven’t already reached your disappointment saturation level, I suspect you’re not really paying attention. If Jeff Suppan’s al dente linguini arm didn’t put you off your feed, I’m not sure what will.

But as the statewide Braun loathe-fest continues, I can’t help but think our anger might be more profitably directed elsewhere. Here are four villainous villains (less well known around these parts than Braun, of course) who are much more worthy of our contempt — because their lies and shenanigans are far more damaging to you, me, and everyone we know:

Fabrice Tourre

Chances are, you haven’t heard of Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre, but you should have — and if there were any justice, you’d be hearing about a lot more folks like him.

Tourre, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was recently convicted of six counts of securities fraud for his role in a putrescent scheme to make money off the late-2000s real estate bust (which, if you’ll remember, cratered the economy after being nudged along by investment banks like Goldman Sachs).

Here’s a brief explanation of Tourre’s scheme, from The Huffington Post’s Mark Gongloff:

The case involved a toxic mortgage deal known as Abacus, which Goldman created in 2007 at the request of hedge-fund manager John Paulson, so that he could bet against it, part of his strategy for making $15 billion on the crisis.

The jury found that Tourre had misled investors about the nature of the deal, tricking them into thinking it had not been built for failure from the start. Tourre now faces the possibility of heavy financial penalties and a lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Not on trial in the case was Goldman Sachs itself, although the bank was paying Tourre’s legal fees. That is because it settled with the SEC in 2010, paying a $550 million penalty without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Cute, huh? It’s gratifying that someone has been nailed for the unbridled greed that put millions out of work and nearly destroyed our economy, but is it possible that Fabulous Fab alone is responsible for the global financial meltdown? Why aren’t there more white-collar criminals heading to the hoosegow?

Ted Cruz, et al.

I wrote last week about some Republicans’ scheme to shut down the government over Obamacare — a truly daft plan that gave our senior senator, Ron Johnson, an opportunity to look dignified by comparison.

Indeed, it’s starting to look more and more like the plan is going the way of Ron Paul’s sanity, but some true believers, like Cruz, are sticking to their guns.

Of course, they know very well that Obamacare isn’t going away, but they have no problem playing a game of pointless political brinkmanship and threatening everyone’s livelihood in the process.

That’s exhibit A to prove that congressional Tea Partiers don’t much care about ordinary folks. Here’s exhibit B: “Conservatives Finally Announce Alternative to Obamacare: Just Go to the Emergency Room

Steve Doocy and the other climate-change deniers

Steve Doocy is the smart one on Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends, which is a little like being the sober one at an Ashwaubenon Hooters. But he’s not exactly bending the IQ curve at Fox. In fact, I’m convinced the network keeps him around simply to prevent Brian Kilmeade from looking like a poorly trained mountain ape and Gretchen Carlson from being legally declared a ward of the state.

So when he speaks on science — well, he pronounces the words right, but he doesn’t really have any clue what he’s talking about.

Here’s what he said on the Aug. 22 edition of Fox & Friends:

“Several scientists have released reports contradicting Al Gore’s claims on global warming. The science is not settled.”

Meanwhile, here’s what you’ll find on NASA’s official website:

“Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.”

Of course, you can always find a few outliers among any community who are only too happy to endorse a contrary opinion, but I’d say that when 97 out of 100 experts agree on one thing, at the very least you should pay attention, particularly when the stakes are so high. This isn’t a jury trial. We shouldn’t have to wait for the verdict to be unanimous before we take action, should we?

After all, there are still a few people with Ph.D.s who’ll tell you that evolution is a fantasy. And no one in his right mind would question evolution, right?

Okay, bad example.



Scott Lively

There’s certainly room for honest disagreement on marriage equality. After all, just because you believe that marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals only doesn’t mean you think that Rip Taylor is the same as Hitler or that AIDS is the God of the Universe’s answer to lavish Broadway dance numbers and rampant Sunday afternoon antiquing, right? Well, then you’re not Scott Lively.

The Center for Constitution Rights recently sued Lively, a pastor and the head of Abiding Truth Ministries, for his role in Uganda’s notorious “Kill the Gays” bill. 

 Crystal Shepeard at has the scoop:

In March 2009, Scott Lively was one of the key speakers at an anti-gay conference held in Kampala, Uganda. He gave three lectures on the final day during which claimed homosexuality was the cause of the Rwandan genocide, Nazism and declared AIDS a justifiable punishment from God. He also identified childhood sexual abuse as a direct cause of being gay.

The remainder of his time in Kampala had him speaking at churches, universities and with parliament about the dangers of homosexuality. At the end of his self-described “resoundingly positive” and “highly successful” campaign, Lively left Uganda assured that the moral climate in Uganda would change significantly in the coming weeks.

It took one month.

In April 2009, a new anti-homosexuality bill was introduced in the Ugandan parliament. Already illegal and punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment, homosexuality was further criminalized by expanding the definition of what was considered homosexual acts. Certain violations were punishable by death.

No doubt Lively is expecting Jesus and Jerry Falwell to high-five him when he finally gets to heaven. I’m guessing one way or the other he’s going to be disappointed.

And now for something completely different …

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been accepted as a contributor to Politics in Stereo, which includes political coverage “from the Left, the Right, and non-partisan sources to give you a full picture of what’s happening.” You can find me listed on the website's Wisconsin page. The site also features IB's conservative blogger, the gruff but lovable David Blaska.

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