Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Media Scams: Rosland Capital, Goldline, Merit Financial
By now many of you have seen many of these ads selling Gold especially if you watch Fox News; now they seem to be increasing on other networks as well. If you Google “Rosland Capital Scams” or substitute any of the other names, including Lear Financial and many more, there is no doubt that you will find a long list of complaints as well as more people trying to come up with more scams.
Ironically most of these web pages won’t even cover the most fundamental flaws with these scams which can be easily recognized with a basic understanding of how business operates. These principles can also help to recognize many other scams and the flaws with the advertising that the current commercial broadcasting system relies on.
I wouldn’t expect to hear anything about this from the mainstream media because they make their profits from it and I suspect that the leading scam artists may actually be the mainstream media in many cases. If the profit margins for these scams is small and they get sued they can close up shop and disappear but the media still gets their share selling advertising time and most people don’t even think to hold them accountable.
In fact many of these companies probably already have disappeared and the new scams may be using the same tactics under a new name so recognizing the simple principles of the scam may be more important than recognizing the past or even current scam artist.
The principles that clearly indicate the motives for these companies start with simply acknowledging the fact that they want to make a profit and that money has to come from somewhere.
In order to make that profit the first thing they need to do is cover their expenses. This includes the money they spend on advertising time, the money it costs to produce the commercial including what they pay actors like William Devane or Glen Beck, the money they pay to advertising psychologists that study the most effective way to manipulate members of the public with their deceptive claims, lobbying and campaign contributions that many of them spend to obtain connections that enable them to avoid regulation and accountability and any other costs that have to be added on to the actual product.
Normally in order to do this they get money from the consumer by providing a product or service that is actually worth paying for to the consumer. In this case the product is often gold or silver coins.
This product or service is presumably intended to improve the quality of life for the consumer somehow.
Not complicated so far; is it?
When selling financial services, or in this case gold or silver that is being presented as an investment, how does this improve the quality of life for the consumer? In most cases it almost certainly doesn’t especially if they have to pay big money for advertising on TV. If there is an exception it is probably something like the investment ads that they make for E-trading of traditional stocks but there may even be problems with that if you look closer, although that is more than I intend to get into in this post. When it comes to silver or gold if you buy it by responding to an expensive ad on TV instead of doing your own research, bypassing the advertising expenses that inevitably have to be added on to the cost, then this will not turn out to be a worthwhile investment; otherwise they would have simply taken advantage of it themselves without passing the opportunity to members of the public.
In the case of Rosland Capital they offer a “free safe” or at least they claim it is free. This is clearly just another scam that involves adding to the price first so they can offer something that the call “free” which is a slight variation of the marked up to mark down scams that are routine. These work by repeating them so often that it becomes part of people’s normal thinking process and they don’t question it anymore. Ideally it wouldn’t involve many if any reminders of the fact that it is a scam. If commercials are all people rely on to make their consumer decisions then they won’t have any fact checking to rely on.
Most people may say they won’t fall for that; but think about what other information is available for consumer choices. There aren’t many that haven’t been corrupted. Many reviews are routinely bought and paid for without any sign that they’re biased.
If you search for gold or silver scams there will be plenty of complaints but few of them that I have seen have pointed out these simple principles that also apply to many other scams. If you don’t know what kind of benefit the consumer receives and how you’re going to get it then it probably doesn’t exist at all; or as they say, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Ironically many of the web sites that expose these scams without covering the basic principles that are flawed that I tried to explain or perhaps some that I missed also have other offers for the consumers that they’re warning of fraud. This means that they may be trying to obtain trust by warning the consumer of a scam and they present themselves as the defender of the consumer.
Kind of like, well, never mind.
William Devane and Glen Beck are only a couple of the high profile celebrities hawking these scams to the consumers; many media commentators and even a couple presidential candidates including Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Mark Levin, Monica Crowley, Sean Hannity and more have all done promotions of Goldline or some other scam. This is a major source of revenue for media outlets. This also increases the demand for commercial time and results in higher prices for commercials for legitimate products or messages, assuming there are any of those left. This means that it contributes to the rising costs of advertising and saturation which reduces the effectiveness and leads to even more ads and expenses.
The result is that expensive ads of all kinds are taking up a growing amount of the GDP without providing any improvement in the quality of life for most people.
On top of that Adbusters has attempted to buy time for what they call “uncommercials” but most media outlets refused to air them. Unlike commercial enterprises they can’t pass on the cost of their ads to the consumers since they aren’t collecting any money from them; instead they collect from sincere citizens that are interested in exposing the excessive amount of commercialism going on. Presumably they could try to buy up ads exposing many scams like this and the corporations that make profits from the scams could simply refuse to air them since they would interfere with the profits they make on their scams. These people don’t have a financial incentive to lie yet it is their speech that was refused while the corporate speech was protected even though it is often fraudulent and won’t stand up to scrutiny.
This problem should be considered much bigger than it seems since it involves the integrity of the mass media which clearly doesn’t hesitate to promote massive amounts of fraud anymore. The politicians that make our laws and the media that provides the investigation that keeps the government and business sector accountable are both the ones involved in this and many other scams.
It also indicates how reliable our main sources are for all other consumer products including legitimate ones that serve a real purpose. If they cost of advertising is added on to these legitimate products and it is harder for us to get accurate information about them then their cost will be driven up as well.
The same media outlets that are involved in these scams are also in nearly complete control of the election process and how the candidates are covered. The leading exception to this seems to be the control of the election process that is in the hands of the candidates themselves who often seem to act as if they should have more right to control the process than either the media or the majority of the public. In fact that majority of the public has little or no way to influence the election process in most cases especially when it comes to nationwide or statewide elections. In some cases when it comes to smaller elections if there are enough active people in any given area than they might be able to make a difference.
Apparently there was a temporary surge media coverage on this in late 2009; The Daily KO wrote Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert expose Glenn Beck's gold scam which provides links to many of the stories that were circulated at that time. Somehow they managed to cover this without mentioning many of the most important and basic problems with the scandal and focused mainly on a conflict of interests, which is legitimate, without mentioning the fact that this does little or nothing to provide the consumers with a worthwhile product sicne they ahd to cover all these excessive expenses which many of these media outlets also profit from even if they weren’t involved in this particular gold scandal.
Presumably they wouldn’t want to explain these basic principles about passing on the expense of the advertising to the consumers and that it isn’t the most effective way of providing accurate information to the consumers since they may have also had their won conflicts of interests that could be exposed if people were in the habit of thinking about how this impacts business of all kinds and how other advertising may also turn into scams.
Ironically these scams might be very similar to the scandal involving money changers that was exposed to some degree by Jesus at least according to the beliefs that many of these sponsors of the current scams who are mostly Christians.
Ironically this may have blown over for a little while but Goldline was charged with fraud eventually but they still don’t seem to have pointed out the basic flaws in this scam; instead they focused on the bait and switch tactics involving selling people something even more fraudulent than some of the other scam artists. Apparently under an agreement of “no further criminal charges, Goldline has agreed to refund all the money….” Or perhaps they’re only returning the money for the most extreme scams that they’ve been exposed at participating in and they continue to do business with the less extreme business scams that they and all the other scam artists continue to run; and the media continues to take an enormous amount of the profit when they sell the advertising that makes all this possible and they aren’t even considered among the scam artists.
Most of the leading participants in these scams don’t seem to turn up much at Open Secrets.org; however this isn’t a guarantee that they don’t find one way or another to influence the political system. One notable exception seems to be Goldline which also happens to be the company that seems to be in the most legal trouble and they’ve been allowed to continue running their scams. They apparently spent 95 thousand dollars lobbying in 2010 and 50 thousand in 2011. They also donated to Dan Burton who is famous for apologizing to BP after the disaster in the Gulf.
The lobbying and campaign contribution game is done in a confusing manner without official quid pro Quo’s in most cases which is what enables them to maintain what they consider plausible deniability. However when they collect an enormous amount of money from some companies and spend their time with them then pass laws that benefit them with little or no regard for the will of the people or their best interest it should be clear to any rational person what is going on.
This is either blatant bribery or if you prefer legalized or virtual bribery.
Whatever you call it the result is the same the system is heavily corrupted one way or another and the majority of the public pay the price. In Machiavellian fashion if there is an uproar with the public they may hold these companies accountable to a point; however they almost certainly will act as if the media outlets and politicians, that set policy to regulate this or in this case look the other way and perhaps even pass trade secrecy laws to make it harder to investigate these scam artist, had nothing to do with the scam.
A closer look at this will quickly and clearly indicate that that is false. The media outlets make an enormous amount of money selling these ads and they’re supposed to be providing a public service in return for the free use of the public airwaves which allegedly involves helping to provide some educational material and informing the public about current events and the political system.
They may have done this to some degree once, although never as much as they should have; but it is clear that they’re no longer providing any worthwhile public service. Instead they trying to make as much profit any way they can and using the mass media as a propaganda machine to advance their business and ideological agenda at the expense of the vast majority of the public.
These scams either help increase their profits or finance their propaganda efforts or both.
There no longer seems to be any standards that require any honesty in advertising any more, assuming there ever was. Thirty years ago many of us were told that they had standards one way or another and that they wouldn’t accept advertising unless it was reasonably credible in order to preserve the reputation of the media outlets and the other advertisers that buy time from them. If the media has a reputation for selling to scam artists then no one who buys commercial time from the media can count on credibility in the eyes of the public simply because they were on TV.
Or that was the impression many of us were given whether it was a result of government regulation of executives that were smart enough to know that if they went overboard selling to scam artists that they wouldn’t have any credibility at all.
That was long ago and they probably didn’t deserve that much credibility then but it is much worse now and it should be clear to anyone that the media has absolutely no credibility whether it comes to selling commercial time or covering important subjects that may involve a conflict of interests. And to make things worse the government has re-regulated the media so that a much smaller number of people have influence on the media that has access to the majority of the public.
The government initially gave them free access to the airwaves on the condition that they provide a public service and allow diverse points of views. These commitments have been gradually eliminated and many people no longer know that this was ever part of the deal. They now receive free use of the airwaves and the right to use them for their scams for absolutely nothing.
Or at least they don’t officially have to pay anything. However there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that they do have some unofficial commitments; unfortunately these commitments aren’t to the public. Instead they seem to be providing news coverage or propaganda that is designed to preserve the current political system and prevent any real reform from sincere people. These news outlets clearly do an enormous amount of lobbying and donating to campaigns and the coverage they provide creates an enormous advantage for the candidates that they support. The biggest advertiser for these scams is still Fox News which donates through many affiliates according to Opne Secrets.org; it would require much more time to even calculate how much they donate and they also try to influence legislation about many other issues most if not all of which also happen at the expense of the majority of the public. Other stations are also involved in providing the ads necessary for these scams and many others including insurance scams and ads selling products that are obviously useless like “magic screens” and many other things.
Without any regulation, openness or accountability the first amendment has been twisted around by the system so that it provides much more protection for fraudulent speech that is all over the corporate media than it does to sincere speech which is much harder to find at the grass roots level and the scam artist can feel safe that these warnings won’t reach the vast majority of their victims until it is too late. Whether it is by the Supreme Court, the media the politicians, the lobbyists or any other scam artist this is a massive level of fraud that involves participants in the media and the government in scamming the public.
Clearly we need to rely on a much more diverse group of media outlets and stop trusting the corporate media which clearly has no credibility on any given subject, especially until we have major media and political reform
The following are a few of the articles I found on this subject, including some cited, while looking around the internet; there’s plenty more where this came from.
PS, don’t give any of them any money either; if you want to fall for a scam just give me your money either by using the tipping option or letting me know how much money you’re going to give me for nothing more than I’ve already provided. ;-)
On another subject while I was preparing this a story about Presidential candidate Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala arrested in protest of foreclosure giant Fannie Mae came out. I’ll get back to this with more details; but it should be clear that she was arrested for standing up to the corrupt banks defending victims of fraud in the banking scandals while the real crooks continue to avoid accountability. Her positions on the issues should be far more important than this which I covered previously on a closer look at Jill Stein.
And I just thought I would close with a few words from Neal Young on sponsoring phony ads or products.
We don’t hear much from Neal Young in the mainstream media anymore; could it be because he hasn’t sold us out? He’s still around but only those that sell out get coverage anymore.
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