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by spocko

Shouldn’t We Laugh When Right Wing Groups Rip Off Tea Partiers?

6:11 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

The first answer to my headline questions would be, YES! We should laugh and rub our hands together in glee. “HA ha! Suckers!” But there is something more to do when we read about conservatives financially conning conservatives.
Faces of the Tea Party Movement 12
The wing nut group I’m talking about is the subject of a ProPublica piece by Kim BarkerPro-Troop’ Charity Pays Off Tea Party Cronies Instead:  In summary she writes: “Move America Forward has collected millions to send care packages to U.S. troops. But its assets have been used to benefit conservative political consulting firms close to its Tea Party founder.” Barker does a tremendous amount of document-based research and makes this comment.

Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.

Over at Salon Digby puts the story of Move America Forward and The Tea Party Express into more context. Wingnut scams the troops: How Tea Party quack uses fake charities to get rich

Meet Sal Russo, the man accused of running a faux veterans charity and Tea Party PAC — to shadily pocket millions

Digby points out that this is nothing new, that conservatives have been using so-called nonprofits to push conservative politics and avoid paying taxes for decades. Even with the rise of SuperPACs and passing Citizens United, some groups still like to tug on the ol’ heart strings to make money from “the base.”

I’m really glad ProPublica commissioned this piece and paid money to Barker to write it.  I’m glad Digby put it in context. But there is a third component that still needs to be addressed. “What is to be done?”

PositiveBrother,  a commenter at Salon said this.

Next I want to read about him being put in JAIL, very, very tired of just reading about, debating about, commenting about these people scamming money from people, while most hard working Americans go to work to try and feed their families.

And then Ranina asked:

Yes! While it’s great that they are exposed, now what? What can we do about it?

I realized years ago that journalism isn’t enough when it comes to these groups and their schemes. Often times these groups are savvy legally, financially, politically and in the media. In the Barker article you see, “Russo didn’t respond to questions from ProPublica” Of course not, because he doesn’t have to. He’s not under oath. Not only doesn’t he have to answer honestly, he doesn’t have to answer at all.

To answer PositiveBrother’s question you just find which laws were broken, find someone who cares and is willing to prosecute. That’s all doable, and if that is your expertise I say go for it! Please report back, I’d like to know what works.

Fighting Logically in an Emotional World

I’ve been working on a guide to using the Spocko Method to fight the forces I think are especially destructive to our society. One of the key ideas is to find the interested 3rd parties who care about the outcome and engage them.  When I was focusing on right wing radio, I went to the advertisers and asked them. “Do you want your brand tainted by being associated with this violent rhetoric, sexist screeds and bigoted comments?”

In this case who has been harmed? The people getting mislead.  How could you engage them? I’d sincerely ask, “Is what they did using your money okay with you?”

We need to understand that my opinion as a left-wing liberal doesn’t matter to MAF and TPE donors. They already know we are god-less troop-hating hippies. The opinion of any media but RW media doesn’t count. In fact, the very act of this story appearing in the liberal media is proof that we are “out to get ‘em.”

Bookmark my words, they will circle the wagons because of the “hit piece” by the liberal media and then they will use it to raise money. All accusations will be denied, and they look forward to their, “day in court” where they will be proved right.  The right wing LOVES to be the victim.  They even need to invent attacks that don’t exist, ‘Obama is coming for your guns!”

It was interesting to note that in the ProPublica piece Melanie Morgan, the co-founder of Move America Forward and major participant in The Tea Party Express, was relegated to the last paragraph. I expect she will go into full denial, excuses and victim mode when she writes about this. Morgan was the public face of MAF and used her position on KSFO radio to constantly promote MAF and Tea Party Express fundraising events. Besides these kind of “charity” promotions, right wing radio gives hours of one sided ‘free advertising” for candidates during campaigns. Yet another FEC violation on our public airwaves that nobody is looking at.

How do you have an impact on people like Russo who use attacks as fund raising opportunities?  You go to the people who supported them and ask how they feel, what they think about the official response and — if they are unhappy — suggest to them something they can do to express their displeasure.

Expressing Displeasure via a Contribution Refund AKA. “I want my money back!”

In 2010 while reading a 494 page FEC documents about the Tea Party Express and writing about how they were sucking up police and community resources in Provo, UT  I spotted a section under itemized dispersion called “Contribution Refund.  Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

The Magic and Beauty of Hiding Behind Front Groups

2:45 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

From a great diary at Daily Kos, ”Industry Expert Says StopRush Has Destroyed Limbaugh’s Business For Good“ by Proglegs:

Speaking yesterday on the Ed Schultz radio show, industry insider Holland Cooke credited a persistent online activist movement with completely destroying right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s business model by using the very free speech that El Rushbo claims gives him carte blanche to do what he does.

The piece quotes Cooke on the Ed Show and discusses the lower ratings, Rush’s move to smaller stations and the impact of less income for Rush’s distributors and radio stations.
Cover up False Front
Being the self-important Vulcan I am, I commented on the piece and my role in the process that lead to this.

Discussing the article with my friend Jeff Tiedrich of the Smirking Chimp there was some confusion.

Wait, how does losing advertisers result in fewer listeners? Seems to me they’re two different problems.

I explained they they were indeed separate issues. I created the Spocko Method specifically to reduce revenue in an environment where the ratings wouldn’t necessarily be impacted by an action and could even increase the ratings because of controversy.

I know that when KSFO, Savage, Beck or Limbaugh lost advertisers that didn’t necessarily mean they would lose ratings. In fact. they would keep bragging about the ratings because people were tuning in to hear the controversy. See the Streisand Effect

Higher ratings usually translate to higher ad rates. But if no one wants to advertise or sponsor the show, then high ratings are moot, especially to the people wanting to make money off of ratings. However, the ratings are still useful to people who want to push a message.

People who like a message, and want it to continue, needed to find new sponsors who love the message but are not vulnerable to pressure the way customer facing advertisers are. These new sponsors could stand behind someone who would normally be sanctioned or be fired for violating the normal HR policies found in most corporations. The groups could even support views that a huge percent of the population find offensive.

Front Groups are Magical

Front groups like the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works and Americans For Prosperity can deflect connection and responsibility from individuals, corporations or brands who love a “no regulations ever” message, but can’t be seen supporting a sick and twisted host or his comments.

When you don’t want your brand tainted by association, you find or create a group of anonymous donors and ask them to pass money through to the messenger they don’t want to be associated with anymore.

Front groups funding right wing radio isn’t new, Politico did a piece on them funding right wing radio back in 2011. Here is another from this week. There are still reasons people and companies hide. There are marketing and brand considerations that remain. If you, as the person driving a message, find that activists have developed and harnessed a customer facing advertiser alert programs that challenges their brand, you work to remove those sponsors identities from the equation. Then you give them the option of funding you via the ‘cut out’ front group, like the Chamber of Commerce does. The other option is to reform the messenger, and that isn’t going to happen.

Customer facing advertisers, like the ones listed here at, had a hard time justifying sponsoring a sexist bigot who would be fired for violating all their own HR policies. But a front group doesn’t have to answer to HR policies, brand managers, customers or shareholders.

The people who want the money to keep rolling in do suggest the host change or tone down his views to appease the sponsors, and some of that does happen behind the scenes, although they will never admit it. The current procedure is to embrace the offensive comments and look for other sponsors.

The consumer facing advertisers were, (and some still are) a weak link in the game. They could be convinced to move away from Limbaugh. However dark money doesn’t care about what anyone thinks. They can “lose” money for decades on an influential narrative shaper, because they ARE getting an ROI. The advertisers could measure their short term ROI with new sales. But the front groups don’t have those short horizon metrics.

They are earning the money that they beg for every year from donors by pointing to their cultural impact.  They have:

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Crow Gets Two Cats to Fight or Care2 gets Microsoft to Attack Google on Privacy Violations

1:03 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Microsoft Attacks Google for Privacy violationsWhile clicking on a story about Republicans being bribed (old news, yawn) I got a pop-up ad that said, “Tell Google to stop going through your email to sell ads.” (link) It was sponsored by Microsoft’s I clicked on it and was taken to Care2 to sign the petition.

I found this petition fascinating, because it represents one corporation attacking another corporation with the intent to force the second corporation into a making a change in their privacy policy. (I should point out that of course Microsoft ALSO goes though your Outlook mail to provide ads. How are they different? You get to choose how targeted your ad is. If you give them no info they send you generic ads.)

There is an old saying, “Let’s you and him go fight.” Setting two corporations up to fight each other to get a result that you want is pretty clever. We aren’t the only species that thinks so. Here is a video of a crow prodding two cats to fight each other, for entertainment.

 Now I don’t know if this petition was Care2′s idea and they sold it to Microsoft or the idea came from Microsoft. Care2 is an interesting company and they have clearly put a lot of thought into how to use corporations’ power and money for good. They are also a B Corporation which is a excellent choice for a company. Care2 says their goal is to, “Make it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most.” They have lots of non-profit partners like Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists and NRDC as well as for-profit partners, like PepsiCo’s Gatorade, Ares Management’s Beauty Rest  Mattresses and Pfizer’s ADHD drugs.

One of components to the Spocko Method is pitting one corporation against another by using Corporation A’s stated values or brand against Corporation B. We contacted an advertiser at Corporation A and pointed out that their brand was being tainted by the comments of a RW radio host employed by Advertiser B. Note, this is NOT a boycott. We didn’t threaten to stop buying product. We convinced one corporation to follow their own stated values and they did.

The Spocko Method has been wildly successful. Corporations and syndicators of RW radio hosts have lost 10s of millions of dollars when it was used on them. It is what lead to Glenn Beck getting fired by Fox. It caused Rush Limbaugh’s syndicator to take a massive revenue hit and Rush to lose WABC in NYC.

I want to encourage this new activity of getting one corporation to attack another corporation over their policies and suggest to my friends in the progressive activism business to figure out more ways to make this happen. I also think it’s smart to make money off of one company challenging another company to be better. It’s leverage with a pay off. I wish I had figured it out.

Cross posted at Spocko’s Brain

by spocko

Premier Networks Takes Massive Revenue Hit on Cumulus (CMLS) Contract, Rush Limbaugh Loses WABC in NY

1:44 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Rush Limbaugh announced today that he has signed a new three year contract with Cumulus. This announcement represents a massive hit in licensing revenue for Premier Networks, Rush’s syndicator, which is owned by Clear Channel. (Video link of the announcement from the DailyRushbo)

Currently there are no details about the amount of the contract, nor are there likely to be. Historically when talent announces new contracts that are favorable to them, they make it public and mention the amount. But when it is a less favorable, they don’t. Then it’s proprietary.

This is good news for Cumulus and bad news for Premier, Clear Channel and Limbaugh. 

Why do I know that Premier (and probably Limbaugh) are taking a massive income hit?

1) Cumulus, Premier and Limbaugh will not release details and comparisons to previous contracts.

2) Limbaugh reframed the story to focuses on the strawman of Cumulus possibly dumping him vs. how much less money his syndicator is getting from Cumulus.

“A group owner was going to cancel their contract with me on 35 of their radio stations and that would be ‘the end of my career’ because one of those 35 was WABC in New York, and WLS in Chicago and WMAL in Washington, and WBAP in Dallas and WJR in Detroit and other large markets. And once that happened, sayonara I’m in everyone’s rear view mirror. ” – Rush Limbaugh, August 23, 2013

He then goes on to talk about how the MSM figured this would be the end of him, but ta da, nothing has changed! Except he is off WABC in New York. And he won’t talk about what it cost him to stay on Cumulus. I’m betting that Premier had to take a massive licensing fee cut. How much is massive? I don’t know, only insiders will know and they will only talk if it is to their advantage.

Now will Limbaugh personally make less money because Premier got less money from Cumulus? I’m guessing yes, unless Clear Channel/Premier’s lawyers are really stupid, which they might be. But maybe not. Rush might still be under an old contract with them that pays him a flat fee vs. a percent of the licensing fees. Clear Channel is a private company. They don’t have to tell anyone squat. Even public companies like Cumulus don’t have to break out information on contracts.

The fact that Limbaugh announced this himself on Friday, probably after the market closed, with no details on the size of the contract, means that is the good news for Cumulus. The bad news is for Premier and Limbaugh. They will be getting smaller licensing fees. The losing of a key 50kW station, WABC in New York, is mitigated with his move to Clear Channels WOR. For Clear Channel this is an easy switch since they own both WOR and Premier, it is just an internal accounting swap, money goes from one pocket into another.  But he did lose it, which means less revenue from Cumulus.

What I want to point out to everyone in the media, in the liberal community and especially to the activist community, is that coming together and using tweets, emails and phone calls to alert advertisers of Rush’s horrific comments, works. They don’t want to taint their brand by associating with him. This is a massive success story. We have used the power of the market, and corporate branding fears to financially push back the RW media. This is a story that you won’t see the MSM or even the trade media acknowledging as significant. As they say in the financial industry this was an material event. This work has moved markets. It’s a big fraking deal.

Rush’s show has become toxic to most advertisers. Rush is not making as much revenue for his syndicators and the distribution groups as before. Rush was an asset that is becoming a liability.

We did this. All the #stoprush people everyone who wrote to or tweeted at advertisers did this. Angelo Carusone, and the folks at Media Matters did this.

How much did this hurt? I haven’t done the money math, but if you extrapolate from the lack of advertisers on the Limbaugh shows in the various markets to the cost each paid, you know it’s 10′s of millions. (Also, sometimes in order to even get advertisers on the show, they have to give it away for free. So you might hear an advertiser, but they are paying nothing, but getting it as part of a bundle.) Bottom line? Net net? Less advertisers means less revenue. He can have huge ratings, but millions of earballs don’t translate to greenbacks.

Limbaugh can boast about the way that he didn’t get dumped by 34 of the 35 stations, but he won’t be talking about just how powerful the campaign was. Of course he will say, “They didn’t get me off the air!” but that really wasn’t the point. That negotiating chip couldn’t have even been used by Cumulus without the campaign (although I doubt they will thank us.)  Can Rush say, ‘They didn’t cost me money, personally?” maybe, but again, that’s not the point. I see people arguing, “You Libtards didn’t hurt Rush, he can’t be fired!”  It’s like a baseball player with a 30 million dollar, three year contract. He breaks his leg the third year, they still have to pay him the last 10 million. Unless his agent is incompetent. Rush’s contract with his syndicator won’t be discussed, but you can guaran-damn-tee it that when it is time to renegotiate his contract with Premier/Clear channel he ain’t getting the same amount as before. And that’s a Victory with a capital V for us.

We kicked ‘em in the balance sheet folks. Kicked ‘em hard. In the famous words of Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. “If you want to hurt rich people, you take away their money.”

by spocko

What do the Words and Actions of Non-Whistleblowers Reveal?

3:34 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

It’s Whistleblower Week and everyone is tweeting, writing and opining about them but before we all move on to the number one threat to America– BEARS!– I’d like to talk about all the people who AREN’T whistleblowers.
Blow that whistle! by Christian Guthier Creative Commons Attribution License
What are they thinking right now? How are they reacting? What are they saying? What will they do in the future because of this?

I’m going to slide down from the official definition of  Whistleblower, where someone exposes elements of a crime, to the more prosaic exposing of shady actions within your own life.

The reality is that many of us have been in a position where we knew that something going down was illegal. We saw something technically legal happening, but we still knew it was wrong. How we dealt with it says a lot about who we are but also where we are in life. Sometimes we can afford to pay the price, other times we say, “Looking myself in the mirror is overrated.  I’ll just look the other way this time.”

Sometimes things are wrong according to your religion’s moral code, other times your own personal moral code is violated.

A lot of the time we do act. We bust the co-worker who is padding their expense account.  We “accidently” let the client know that our boss didn’t dump the conflicting account when the said they would, “Oh I’m sure it was just a mix up. If you bring it to his attention, you didn’t hear it from me.”

Most people don’t seek out ethical dilemmas in the workplace, unless they are looking for fodder for a new cable TV show. Often there are no reporting systems in place, or  you are in a company/culture where you know that nothing will be done. So when a big story about Whistleblowers breaks, there will be some conflict in people’s minds and that will be reflected in their comments.  I want us to look at these comments and try to understand where they are coming from.

My friend Gottalaff over at The Political Carnival noted these tweets in her stream after the announcement of the identity of  the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“He has no grip on reality,”
He’s “dumb”
“I’ve been thinking mental since he said: “they can literally watch ur ideas form as u type”
“Delusions of grandeur much?”
“He’ll start a war with China,”
“His BS abt HK as a refuge makes me think he has a mental disorder.”
“Chinese Pres visits US yesterday. Leaker id came out 2day.Hong Kong is under the control of China. Fiill in the rest.”
“Bit delusional, grandiose notions, might be suffering from ODS.”

When someone like Snowden comes forward, people’s reactions don’t come out of a vacuum. Some praise the person, others get pissed off. The whistleblower did something many feel they could never do. Some lash out at the person because they think he is making them look bad for not acting on the same info.  Think about all the people who worked for the NSA as contractors who didn’t come forward. Surely some felt the same as Snowden.  But let’s not forget the people who believe that what the Whistleblower did was wrong. I’ve made the mistake thinking that everyone looks at this situation as I do.

I feel a great deal of empathy for people who can’t be whistleblowers right now. I’m going to suggest things that they can do to make it easier for others to act now and in the future.

Actions You Can Take Now

1) Pop over to the National Whistleblower Center and read the Whistleblower Handbook.

2) Figure out ways to get your company and colleagues to do the right thing–without getting fired.(Not to brag, but I’m very proud of the way I figured out how to help corporations do the right thing by suggesting they remove their sponsorship from Right Wing Talk radio. “Don’t let them taint your brand! Do you want your brand to be less sexist? Stop sponsoring sexist talk.” )

3) Contribute to the Edward Snowden Legal Defense Fund started by the Progressive Change Campaign.

4) Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

People who don’t want their actions to be exposed will work to make exposure harder. They will get groups like ALEC to create bills like the Ag-Gag laws that criminalize doing the right thing.

Our job going forward is to revise attitudes toward whistleblowers and create systems and structures to help the next whistleblower. Someday it might be you blowing that whistle.


Photo by Christian Guthier Creative Commons Attribution license


by spocko

9 questions the press won’t ask about Cumulus vs. a Flaming Gasbag

11:27 am in Uncategorized by spocko

Have you noticed the Cumulus v. Rush stories in the press lately? What makes me crazy is thinking about all the questions that could be asked of the distributors, media corporations and the people who have made money or spent money on right wing media. Sadly they won’t be asked, although if they were asked I suspect the answers would range from, “No comment.” to, “We don’t have to tell you nothin’ Poindexter” and include lots of, ” We are a private company! Now drop and give me 20 stories on missing white women!”Day 252 - blowing up WildCamp 2011

Although public companies like Cumulus will answer a few questions, those answers will mostly be bullshit. I also know that no one in the press will call them on their doublespeak because shut up. But if I was an old timey journalist, wearing a fedora with PRESS in the hat band I would ask ‘em. I know I wouldn’t get any good answers of course, but it would be fun to watch the squirming. Today’s journalists aren’t about making anyone squirm. Not their job. Getting deeper truthful answers? Not their job. Reporting what they say exactly as they say it? That’s their job.

Here are a few questions I would ask of media companies that syndicate Rush or make money from the ads they sell during the show. I’d start with my natural wide-eyed innocence and then proceed to my grizzled, impatient self and finally ask sarcastic, cynical questions.

1) Why don’t you treat Rush like any other poorly performing asset and dump him for something better?
Answer: [mumble mumble.] He’s a fine asset, he still has the highest ratings in the industry! Frumpy, frumpy, frumpy. There is no one better! Next question.

2) Why don’t you renegotiate his contract?
Answer: We aren’t in a position at this time to discuss contract terms.

They will compare Rush to an athlete with two broken legs. He has to be paid even if he can’t play until the contract is over. As we know from the banking industry only the little people can never walk away from an asset that is under-performing. The big boys do it all the time, why aren’t they now?.

3) Why don’t you find a way out of the contract?
Answer: [ Something, something, pause] At this juncture we don’t have that option.

Translation, “We are trying to figure something out, unfortunately his lawyers are smarter than our lawyers and they removed all the loopholes to get out of it.”

4) Why don’t you demand that Rush find a way to return to profitability? Why don’t you demand that Rush “stop insulting women” so you can reach out to advertisers other than herbal boner pill makers?
Answer: Our conversations with Mr. Limbaugh aren’t subject to public disclosure.

[Behind the scenes with ad sales guys: That fat bastard didn't even return our calls! We've GOLFED with him! I laughed at his stupid dirty jokes! We kept him on when he was popping Oxy like doughnut holes! Oh, his "people" say, "This will blow over. Advertisers will come back." we are tired of waiting Rushbo. Unlike him we have to work and live with real women . Women who put up with him when he made us money but now won't buy our line, "Sure he is a pig, but he's our pig and he's making us a butt load of money".]

If you have to ask you aren’t part of the boys’ club, questions.

The following questions should be asked but the answers are usually unstated. Everybody just “knows” the answer. To even mention them is considered naive. Questions such as:
Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

What To Do When the Rich Win

1:36 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Can I buy your vote? This week Darcy Burner, a candidate I supported got beat by a rich candidate. Recently, some groups I supported, SF Ocean Edge, The Sierra Club and The Audubon Society lost an appeal to stop seven acres of natural grass from being ripped out of the west end of Golden Gate Park  and replaced with artificial turf and 150,000 watts of stadium lights for soccer fields. The project is funded by a rich family, the Fishers, whose father founded the Gap.

It’s rough when the rich beat us, not just because we lost, but because it can be used as an encouragement for the idea that being rich should be your first and main goal — since it seems to prove that everything you want flows from that. “Want to win an election?” be rich. Then buy what you need to win. “What to break the law?” be rich, then pay the lawyers to make it a civil case so you just pay the fine. “Want to not break the law? Buy the lobbyist, who pays the lawmakers to fix the law so you don’t break them–it’s cheaper than the fine and then you are a “law abiding citizen.”

Money can’t buy you love? Yeah, but plenty of rich people find people to love them. It isn’t always a “if you are rich you can’t get love” equation. Poor people can’t find people to love them either. And being poor can get in the way of way of love just like being rich supposedly does.

I know I have a bad attitude toward how some rich people use their money. (Note I didn’t say toward all rich or all money. I’m directing my ire at behaviors.) This is one of the reasons that I designed the Spocko Method program to go after the right wing media. It was designed to take away their money. Because, like Eddie Murphy said in the movie Trading Places, “You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people. ” And there are certain kind of rich people I wanted to hurt by making them less rich. They were the ones who believed in violence directed toward Muslims, journalists, Democrats and liberals. Race-baiters, bigots, racists and homophobes all care as much about money as most Americans. If I know I’m not going to change their mind and I don’t want to censor their views then I want to ensure they don’t get rich espousing those views. They have a right to say what they want, they don’t have a right to get rich doing it.

Now if I was smarter I could have figured out a way to not just cost the disgusting rich money, but get their ill gotten gains to flow to me. Why? Because as we have learned in America, being rich should be your first and main goal since everything you want flows from that. I could then use this money to keep costing the disgusting rich money.

In my life I’ve helped people create millions and I’ve helped people lose millions. I’ve enjoyed helping people create millions more, partly because the people I helped were creating good things and they valued my help. When I’ve cost people money, there is satisfaction because I hurt people who were creating bad things, but my work wasn’t valued beyond, “Atta boys.” I think that I, like a lot of, people in America are still locked in to the idea that, “First get rich. If you can’t get rich then there is something wrong with you.  Being a “good man” doesn’t get you much beyond an occasional warm feeling while shaving.

I think of all the students who will have huge debt coming out of college. Their mandate will need to be, “First get rich.” Will they have the ability to see beyond that need? I don’t think I could. It’s hard enough to get a job, let alone one that will make you rich.

But maybe it is a fallacy that everything you want flows from being rich.   How do you prove it? How many people, after hearing the stories of how money doesn’t buy lottery winners’ happiness, say, “Let me try it and win the lottery and then we’ll see. I’ll be different. Money WILL make me happy. I can buy what I want and be happy.”

Should I be just as delusional (and have the same poor understanding of math) as other Americans and buy lottery tickets? Should I “buy” into the “first get rich” attitude? I’m already been part of the “first be poor” attitude and its been pretty crummy.

I’m very frustrated right now. Pointing to the defeat of Meg Whitman who spent millions doesn’t help much right now. The shortcut of buying elections is appealing. But it’s not just that they are buying ads, they are cashing in on the attitudes that someone spent 40 years inculcating.

Here is what 40 years of buying smart communicators, the media, regulators and legislators seem to prove:

  • ♦  Money CAN buy you your election (even if that isn’t true all the time- “Let me show you a bunch of stories where it happened, ignore the times it didn’t.”).


  • ♦ Guns CAN protect you (even if that isn’t true all the time – “Let me tell you a bunch of stories where guns protected people, ignore the times they didn’t, besides if more people had guns there would be more protection!”)


  • ♦ Wall Street CAN fix the problems they created (even if that isn’t true most the time – “Read about a bunch of Very Serious People ™ who believe self regulation works, even though they have been wrong almost 100 percent of the time”.)

So in the face of this ‘evidence’ we should be going out and buying elections, getting guns and letting Wall Street regulate themselves.

But I’m not buying their evidence. I’m going to work to show the failure of their evidence, to change attitudes and prove them wrong. Or maybe I’ll grow back my goatee and accept that I can’t be that one man with a vision.

Very Serious People is a ™ of Duncan Black, Atrios