Saturday, February 26, 2005

They Wouldn't Mislead Seniors?

That's right, boys and girls, those purveyors of the truth, the Swift Boat liars, are back at it again. Only this time their name has changed but the people behind the curtain are vastly the same. For the Swifties, the game was to sink Kerry by smudging the record of a guy with three purple hearts, and a bronze and silver star. This time around as as United Seniors Association, a front organization for USA Next - a wonderful company run by a cabal of wingnuts intent on ending Social Security, the game is to sink Social Security.

Just like Kerry was the Swifties target, and their attacks on him filled with mistruth, misleading statement and outright shameless lies, USA Next (or would that be United Seniors) has a target too: AARP. Yes, that ultra liberal, troop hating, gay loving, benefit cheating, tax increase loving organization. Why those vile scum are out to raise all our taxes, don't care if Social Security goes belly up, and are pushing (gasp) the Gay Agenda! Yes, that AARP.

Go ahead and laugh. But USA Next must have a good argument for the privatization of Social Security. I'm sure so much of a good argument that it wouldn't need to resort to wedge issues and complete misleading untruth to get it's point across, right? If you believe that, then I've got a story to tell you about the Easter Bunny.

Just like the Swifty attacks were carefully crafted slime machines, so are the tactics USA Next is using on AARP. What's more interesting however, is that they don't care is they are misleading seniors, or anyone else for that matter, to achieve their goals. They've been there before and have no problem with deception. In fact, they've been found guilty of doing just that in August 2003 (emphasis mine):
An entity may be found liable for contravening the proscriptions of section 1140(a)(1) of the Act if it sends envelopes that it knows are deceptive, where it is indifferent to their deceptive appearance, or where it is negligent in ensuring that the envelopes that it sends are not misleading. The preponderance of the evidence in this case establishes that Respondent violated this standard. First, Respondent's intent to deceive is evident from the design of the envelopes. Second, Respondent was on notice from the SSA I.G. that the envelope designs were likely to be found to be illegal but sent them anyway. This evidence is not rebutted by the denials of Respondent's officers of any intent to send misleading envelopes.

Respondent is a sophisticated mass marketer of ideas. Its life blood is its appeals to senior citizens on a range of social and policy issues. It has vast experience in making mass mailings. That sophistication makes it obvious that Respondent knew what it was doing when it designed the envelopes that are at issue in this case.

The inescapable inference that I draw from the envelopes' designs in light of Respondent's sophisticated marketing experience is that Respondent intended that its envelopes would deceive recipients into believing, at least momentarily, that the envelopes were from or authorized by the Social Security Administration.
They knew the mailings were misleading and probably illegal and mailed them anyway. How very moral and ethical of them. For this they were fined $554,196: $1.00 for each of the envelopes that were sent as part of their illegal mailing.

This is what we're up against. Again. People who don't care about truth. Don't care about Seniors. Don't care about the poor. Don't care about anything they claim to care about. They have no facts on their side. They have not truth to their argument. And they have no shame either. Their one goal is to win. And winning to them means dismantling Social Security by any means necessary.

Be informed. Learn about the Social Security debate here, here and here.

Social Security is healthy and successful.