Those on the rightward fringe apparently believe that life is one vast conspiracy, that the government or others of the establishment are lying to them constantly. The truth about the world and, most importantly, the keys to happiness are simple and within reach of all if only the veil is lifted. Or, perhaps more accurately, there is an industry devoted to helping disaffected people to think along those lines.
For whatever reason, I have been the recipient of emails since mid-November that are aimed at that fringe. They include these titles: Tea Party Politics, Tea Party Bulletin, Survival Joe, Liberty 24/7, Conservatives United, The Right To Bear, 2d Amendment Insider, Preserve Freedom, Patriots and Politics, and Patriot Health Report. Others (Investor Insider, Gold Silver Central, Natural Health Online, and Health and Wellness Today), probably derive from the same sources. The total of these messages, over forty-four days, is 269, six per day.
There are two themes to many of these communications. The first is the grabber, which may play on paranoia: "What will you do when the government barges into your home and SEIZES your guns TOMORROW. . . and FEMA tries to cram you into one of their camps like sardines?" or on partisanship: "This Former Marxist Destroys Liberal Ideas in Just 4 Minutes (VIDEO)" or on anti-government suspicion or resentment: "At this moment, a shocking cover-up involving Obama, Congress and the FDA is threatening the lives of over 45 million Americans. . . including you."
The second is a commercial pitch: subscribe to a newsletter or buy a book, often to learn health secrets. For example, drawn in by this headline, "Welfare Fraud is a Huge Problem & this Shocking Interview Proves It (VIDEO)," you are led to "Weird Trick Restores Your Vision." You can cure all known vision limitations by means of the weird trick, knowledge of which is suppressed by the establishment, which makes money from exams, surgery, glasses, etc. Other health tricks, alleged to cure Alzheimer’s, shed weight, cure diabetes, etc. appear repeatedly.
I’ve clicked on a number of the links to commercial pitches; each of them is presented by a "video" (text which someone also is reading). As shown by the preceding item, sometimes there is an element of bait and switch. Another example is found on Tea Party Politics. It begins, "Fellow Patriot, Obama's sinister new agenda is unfolding. There's a reason why he's disarming millions while hoarding enough ammo for a 30 year land war. Sandy Hook's got nothing to do with it. It's way darker than that. . . and it's all explained in this controversial video. . ." That sounds like something to do with gun control. However, the pitch is about a supposed food crisis, and the solution is to buy an "aquaponic" system which will grow food without soil as well as raising fish. Result: buyers will eat while others starve during the troubles ahead.
Some messages go directly to the commercial pitch, without anything seemingly relevant to the page. One 2d Amendment Insider leads off with "The Eyecare industry is FURIOUS at this woman who stumbled upon a ground-breaking system to restore anybody's vision to 20/20 in as little as 2 weeks!" and then gives us the same "weird trick" video described above.
Survival, in one form or another, is a recurring theme. On Patriots and Politics, we can buy a "Fight Fast Pen." It is, we are told, a real pen, "but it also doubles as a very nasty tool to protect yourself and loved ones." Conservatives United offers the "Stinger Spy Pen," apparently a different device. Tea Party Politics will tell us how to build an unregistered AR-15. It also offers a "killer throwing knife" and throwing instructions. Following the warning about seizing guns and FEMA camps, Survival Joe ("Helping the average Joe prepare for the coming crisis") advertised "The Complete Survival System" (a book).
Apart from self-defense, there is advice to buy gold to avoid the "dollar crash" or a collapse of the investment markets. On Conservatives United, I learned of an "underground bank account" (also "secret" and "hidden") which allowed someone to turn $27 into $886,000 in four years. It turned out, after much evasion and repetition, to be about Bitcoins. Apparently the pitch hadn’t gone on long enough, so then we were touted to a book denouncing Obamacare and another on keeping our information secret.
In some of the ads the anti-establishment theme is underscored, and the sales pitch ramped up, by telling us that we must act quickly, because the government or some other evil force will shut the offer down.
The "videos" seem to go on forever. The one for aquaponics was described as "very short," but ran more than thirty minutes; one about Alzheimer’s was described as taking five minutes but went on for forty; Bitcoin, etc. lasted for about forty-five. I’ve have had the patience only to listen to a few to the end, but they all seem to move at a snail’s pace. It would be amazing if many people were able to stick with one of these tedious, repetitious pitches long enough to learn how to buy whatever is on offer.
Apparently these advertisers think that conservatives are very patient and have little to do, in addition to being anti-establishment and gullible.