Meet The Man Making Money Off Gullible, Bigoted Conspiracy Nuts

Earlier today, my colleague Ilyssa Fuchs wrote an article about how the latest far right furor is over the Girl Scouts and their yummy, delicious cookies. In a nutshell, some of them are calling for a boycott of those irresistible Thin Mints all because they think Girl Scouts USA is endorsing Wendy Davis in Texas. Oh yeah, and abortion as well – but this isn’t anything new. Ever since I could remember, the hard right has had a history of being completely pissed off about all the wrong things. Bless their hearts, they’re just gullible and so easily used as constant source of cash – and votes. As a politician or someone selling a product, all you have to do is reference one of the right-wing outrages du jour while advertising and they’ll line up at the book stores, the voting booths or on the internet for you.

Don’t believe me? Check out this story from ThinkProgress. It’s about how Allen Baler (operating under the name Frank Bates) has made a lot of money, all from selling survivalist merchandise to mostly right-wing (there’s some on the left as well if you ever frequent Reddit) nutjobs who are firmly convinced that any day now Obama is going to instruct FEMA to round all the “patriots” up and put them in FEMA camps. From the story:

Pairing survivalist panic to more mainstream conservative tropes is Frank’s calling card, pervading his pitches for the other products in the 4Patriots line. Power4Patriots reveals “the dirty little secret that president [sic] Obama and the big energy monopolies have been trying to bury.” There’s a “cover-up,” a “conspiracy that runs all the way to the top” to make “power rates skyrocket.” Moreover, “thanks to the shaky state the liberals have put our country in, our government isn’t ready to handle the situations that are coming our way…Ask anyone who lived through Hurricane Katrina!” The solution is to buy Power4Patriots’ books, videos, and “CD-ROMs,” which will teach you how to cut your power and heating bills by “up to” 75 percent.

I don’t know Mr. Baler’s actual political affiliation, but does it really matter?  The fact is that just like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck or even Alex Jones, he has made a whole lot of money by finding a demand for fear and/or bigotry and then filling it with survivalist “off the grid” products. You gotta admit, it takes a certain amount of genius and business savvy to get conservatives to embrace solar panels of all things – but it’s not just solar panels he’s hawking.

Food4Patriots and SurvivalSeeds4Patriots expand the business beyond Clickbank-style infoguides. Baler buys kits from My Patriot Supply, a preserved food and seed company, and then sells them for about three times the original price. For instance, the Reboot 3 Month package is listed on My Patriot Supply for $183.54; the Food4Patriots 3-month supply will run you a cool $497. All Baler does is drench someone else’s stuff in paranoid anti-Obama finery and advertise it around the conservative mediasphere using a likely fictional life story.

A 300% markup and these supposedly fiscal conservatives and libertarians still buy this stuff? Seriously? I thought you guys, especially self-described libertarians, were smarter than the “liberal sheeple” you like to mock. I thought you could “see through the lies and deceit of the government” but you can’t even figure out that you’re being sold someone else’s product that’s been repackaged with an unhealthy dose of confirmation bias, paranoia and bigotry? Come on now, how completely and utterly gullible are you that you would eat up every bit of this insane conspiracy bullshit and then buy up ridiculously overpriced survival gear?

I would laugh at you but my own sister’s father-in-law is one of these people. He’s an elderly guy in very poor health who stays up all night listening to Coast to Coast AM or other conspiracy shows. He can barely afford to feed himself on his Social Security check which comes from the very government he believes is planning to send him to a FEMA death camp, but he’ll shell out whatever he can to buy filters to remove fluoride from his water or buy specially packaged foods because, you know, the government is out to get him.

Mr. Baler is very much into affiliate marketing as you can see in this YouTube video, as are countless other web entrepreneurs who make a living finding a niche market in everything from blogging to convincing mentally ill “patriots” that only by buying their merchandise can they thwart the plans of the “Zionist occupied government” that is coming for their freedoms any day now.  Oh yeah, and here’s the punchline – ready for it? According to the website AlexJonesExposed, Mr. Baler is also Jewish, as are many of the other people who advertise with Alex Jones. Now please excuse me while I laugh hysterically for the next 24 hours.


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