Friday, August 19, 2011

Say Hello To All Your New Supporters. Now Where's My Check?

Why would Mitt Romney's #1 fan and designer of his largest support network not want anyone to know who he is?

Perhaps, it is because Brian Armstrong of Eagle Mountain, Utah is a paid shill who is acting as an unofficial OPO (online political operative) for the Republican hopeful.

By now, I'm sure you've noticed that Mitt Romney has a website... or maybe you haven't because you wouldn't even want to visit it. That's a problem that many candidates, even the President have faced over the past few years: "How do we drive traffic to our website?" Another question then becomes, how do we get donations from that traffic once we've got them?

Well, back in 2004, the Republican Party expirimented with using OPO's to get the much coveted "youth vote" for George W. Bush. One of the "bad ideas" that most of the OPO's decided not to go for was an angle that's commonly called Associate Marketing? Why is it a bad idea? Because if you are found out and exposed, you show that your candidate only has support that they are paying for - not REAL support.

A key player in this process of bringing Republicans into the internet age was a girl who later went on to head up the internet-related side of many other campaigns including Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign. Her name is Mindy Finn and she most recently was known to have worked on Tim Pawlenty's "crash and burn" campaign... which is sooo not like her. Is she still REALLY working for Mitt Romney with Zach Moffatt? Who knows... There's afterall, no honor among thieves... or in this case, among associate marketers gone political.

So how does it work? There is a 2nd Mitt Romney website that more people enjoy visiting... it is supposed to be like a hub for "tea party-like" "grassroots" supporters that is supposedly NOT paid for by the Romney campaign. This is where the associate marketers mingle with the real supporters and solicit donations from them and "drive their traffic" to the places Mitt Romney (or whoever has hired them) want them to go. Here, it is important to note that Mitt Romney's official facebook page links to the supposedly disconnected "Mitt Romney Central" as though it is in fact, part of the official campaign.

Associate Marketing techniques are a few steps beyond the pale of what voters and people concerned with ethics are willing permit their candidates to get into... It creates a lot of spam, it's mostly anonymous and it just doesn't speak to the idea that the supporters are there for the right reasons.

Creating a political campaign based on paying per click and driving traffic this way and that might seem lucrative to people who never step away from their computers... But there is REAL life outside the matrix that one must eventually contend with. For Mitt Romney, it's going to be devastating to his REAL supporters that most of their "new friends" are being paid handsomely to get cozy with them.

According to one of Armstrong's many, many websites, he explains it this way: "Targeting social groups with your marketing message may be like tight-rope walking. It also may require some nice social engineering where you have an opportunity to talk about your product or service without it coming across as an advertisement or a “pitch”... the overall concept revolves a bit around SEO (search engine optimization 0r "making your site popular via keywords) being a “popularity contest” with backlinks being the votes. Monetizing that traffic [in this case, getting donations] is probably the topic of a different article."

Mr. Armstrong's mistake - the part that really uncovered this mess... was claiming that the "grassroots" site was designed by amateur volunteers and then not giving those people proper credit for their help... It smelled fishy, and boy was it ever... See the "official page" for the "volunteer" who set them up here. Notice anything strange?

Here, you can watch Brian's videos about Associate Marketing.

Here, you can see his obscure and kind of strange blog/webpage where he recruits business.

Now that you know this much, have fun sorting through the rubble... If you know more than I do about associate marketing techniques and political campaigns, please send me an email at and don't hack me, bro...

If any of my facts are wrong here and I'm barking up the wrong tree, just let me know - I'm a reasonable guy who only wants politicians to be honest about who their support is coming from and under what motivation. I always welcome new information and correct my mistakes where I can. Don't have a cow and think I'm your biggest enemy just because I don't support being shady.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Allen West and Debbie Wasserman Schultz - Together At Last?

If you're looking for any evidence that the Debt Ceiling Vote was truly a compromise for both Democrats and Republicans, you needn't look any further. Both Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Allen West (R-FL) have both voted in favor of the legislation.

What's ironic about this pair falling on the same side of our nation's most contentious debate this year is that they've been sparring over this very issue with vigor unmatched by any other dueling legislators.

According to the Schultz camp, West is a "sexist" and waging a "war on women and the elderly". According to Allen West himself, Schultz is "not a lady" and therefore doesn't deserve his respect.

Another unlikely pair of legislators to fall in line with each other for obviously very different reasons would be Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Bachmann, a Tea Party member like West, is the legislator who championed the idea of not raising the debt ceiling in the first place. Both Hastings and Bachmann voted against the debt ceiling compromise bill.

If these two (Allen West and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) can agree on a compromise - there is indeed hope for the rest of us... Or is there?

Recently, the Wilton Manors Business Association (WMBA) was forced to cancel an invitation for Allen West to speak at their event on August 8th. The speaking engagement was first championed by Celeste Ellich, the owner of a real estate agency, who is currently President of the association.

A number of association members were unhappy about West being asked to speak at the engagement and a few threatened to withdraw their membership. Some boycotts were haphazardly started and a petition began circulating.

According to sources close to Ellich, she even claimed to be receiving "death threats" over the situation. This claim of death threats has not been verified by anyone.

So why were the businesses so upset? Evidently, a lot of it has to do with West's anti-gay rhetoric and disrespect for women - particularly Schultz. In fact, a non-partisan organization made up of business owners and community activists in the Fort Lauderdale area has been set up to continue carrying the torch against West's rhetoric at future events.

As a disclaimer, I joined this coalition yesterday.

The following is the organization's only official statement to the press thus far:

A non partisan group of community and business leaders was formed
today, entitled 'The Coalition for Equality and Fairness (CEF)', to create
an organization designed to protect citizenship diversity and stand up to public
officials who are bullying the LGBT community in order to advance their
own political and personal agendas.

The first order of business for the CEF will be to conduct an open and public educational rally next Monday, August 8, at 6 p.m., in Wilton Manors, entitled 'Allen West: In His Own Words'. Our purpose is not to censor anyone; it is rather to censure those who attempt to abuse us.

The Coalition will be issuing a mission statement on Wednesday evening defining and
articulating its purpose and objectives, at which time the venue for the community rally and gathering will also be announced.

To participate in the rally or the initial organizing efforts of the CEF, please send an expression of interest to, co-ordinating outreach at the present time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Has Obama Changed Washington (or has it changed him)?

I am writing this note to my friends (and their friends) today because I want you to think about the long arduous battle we have ahead of us in 2012. Thanks to the conservatives on the Supreme Court, there will be an influx of campaign cash in our politics like we've never seen before. In a ruling called "Citizens United V. The Federal Elections Commission", Supreme Court Justices like Scalia, Roberts and Thomas basically opened up Pandora's Box for corruption and propaganda at its worst.

Moderate and Independant voters will be faced with the age old question, "Republican or Democrat?" and conventional wisdom tells us that they are inclined to lean toward Republicans. To make matters more ominous for Democrats, state level politics experienced an influx of hard-right Republicans in the 2010 elections and this includes Governors and State Houses that will be re-rigging the voting laws, the way the districts are drawn and even the processes by which votes are counted in key states.

What Democrats need right now is a strategy and a clear message... We need to be on the offense and the defense simultaneously. Mostly, we have to bring something to the table. Voters are no longer interested in Kennedy's sentiment that they should "ask what they can do for their country". They now sing a tune more akin to the Janet Jackson song, "What have you done for me lately?"

We must attempt to answer this question for voters because it just happens to be the Achilles Heel for conservatives and Republicans... The truth is, what little the Democrats have been able to accomplish has aired on the side of the working middle class... the side of the voters. Republicans cannot truthfully claim anything of the sort. Here are a few examples that are actually quite impressive:

  • 1) Barack Obama is the first American President to issue a "Taxpayer's Reciept".

  • 2) The United States under leadership of Obama captured and killed the terrorist responsible for collapsing the World Trade Center.

  • 3) Democrats alone trailblazed a path for making healthcare a fundamental aspect of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • 4) Thanks to President Obama and the Democratic Party, Gays & Lesbians can openly serve in the armed forces while knowing that they are protecting true freedom without exceptions made for personal prejudices.

  • 5) Thanks to President Obama and the Democratic Party, the mother of a hate crime victim will have her anguish validated by the law when she buries her son or daughter. The Government will not tell her that it's her fault.

  • 6) President Obama has given options to Native American Women who are the victims of rape and violent attacks on their reservations so that they may access law enforcement and see justice for the first time.

  • 7) It is Democrats, NOT Republicans, who continue to insist that the Government protect consumers from predatory banks, lenders and credit card companies.

  • 8) Both civilian casualties and armed services casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are (from what I can tell) about 30% of what they were yearly under the leadership of George W. Bush. The ongoing occupations seem to be slowly turning into the "peace-keeping" missions that Republicans promised but could never manage to deliver.

  • 9) Women who do the same work as men at their jobs must now be paid equally according to the law for the first time in America's History and once again... that was Democratic legislation.

  • 10) For the first time since the crisis began, our Federal Government has a strategy to treat HIV/AIDS in the United States and to prevent new infections from increasing in frequency.