May 12th, 2005


Political Rantishness: Secret phone conspiracies, part two

Sometimes you wonder who the conspirators are.

For example, I've been getting robotic phone calls from someplace that calls itself the Dove Group or the Dove Foundation... in fact I guess it's these folks .

Thing is, they call automatically, and ask *lots* of questions that could identify your politics (or mine) ... and through the script they keep insisting that they don't want your money -- but ISTM they're trying (from the questions) to locate senior citizens with lots of grandchildren so they can ask for money and give them the names of people who also agree with their particular agenda. And -- since they use the "non-profit" loophole -- they can legally beg for money and information on my phone. I figure this outfit is to be reported to the state AG office if they call again -- there's certainly a kind of scammy search for information that comes close to invasion of privacy... all in the name of the children, of course.

Me? I've spoken with enough of the "we're doing it all for the kids" types to hear the undertone of "we want to control the vertical, we want to control the horizontal, we want to bring the laws to you... and we want you to pay us to take control of your life for you." I'm thinking, for example, of the Maine politician who wanted to require that *any* book *any* parent was concerned about be immediately removed to a "by parental permission only" section of a library -- a *mandatory* section of the library... and that every library have a "proactive" parental review panel that would look at *all* the books being considered for the library and decide which should be purchased and which should not. In the name of the children, of course.

So... I dunno about these Dove folks who called me, I never met them, and they think their robot is a great way to talk to people about things that are important to people. Very personal, I guess. But they have a poll you can take if you're so inclined: but watch out ... they're also sort of shilling for a company they want to pass your name to. Can a foundation do that? IANAL; I'll have to guess they can.

Then, there are the automated "phone polls" like the one I got this evening. A very serious sounding man asks (approximately, I didn't record it) "Hello, we'd like you to take part in a poll on the new plan President Bush has put forth to allow private citizens to contribute to individual Social Security accounts. If you agree, you may press 1 at any time during this message. If you are not in agreement, you may press 2 now."

So I pressed 2. "Thank you for taking part in this national poll. " Click.

There was information there: apparently they were planning on delivering a message and were willing to give me as lots of time to listen to it -- if I was basically agreeable -- but they were really not interested in identifying themselves or telling me who they were polling for.

This is worse than "push polling" -- it's another kind of anonymous, scammy search for information.

JSYK, I think the Republican effort to make people set up risky private financial accounts with fee-taking agencies unappealing, and I think trying to blame it all on the President is a sign that some of the Republicans think they need to use the fearless leader approach to sell the idea. I've also heard some really absurd ads by friends of the party who think that silly analogies will make me change my mind. In the name of the children, of course.

So I wonder if there's a database out there -- a kind of electronic map with red and blue pins sticking out of it -- so that my phone and my address can be bluelined the next time someone needs to redistrict in favor of the people who have my best interests at heart, as long as they can determine what my best interest is. In the name of the children, of course.

(version 2, sorry for the typos)
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