It’s funny what kind of unsolicited items pop-up on my email. Although the political solicitations I receive are generally from left-wing groups, occasionally one from a right-wing group sneaks through. The other day the Washington Times—a conservative “alternative” to the Post—which apparently has me on some mailing list specializing in right-wing scams aimed at the paranoid fear-freak demographic, sent me something from another hoaxer and huckster. This time it wasn’t Porter Stansberry with another “End of Obama” propaganda spiel that ends with another fraudulent money-making scheme (that is, for his own pockets), but from something called “Food4Patriots.”
“Food4Patriots” is a company run by some jokester named Frank Bates, based in Nashville, TN. He offers to the gullible “survival” kits of food of various quantities, although you better buy at least a year’s worth, or you can expect the short-end of their “service.” As usual, Bates feeds on the paranoia of the right-wing variety. He claims he started this company when his friend “Matt” received a “disturbing” letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
You see, “Matt” ran a company through a website called “MyPatriotSupply.com,” which among other things also supplied food survival “kits.” This alleged “letter” demanded that “Matt” turn over all this food to FEMA for a nominal price, so they could distribute it to people it thought it should go to. Naturally, “Matt”—being the good “patriot”—refused to do this, since he thought that “everyone” should have access to his stash; after all, he wasn’t doing this for “free,” as any huckster will tell you. He was in it for profit—a lot of profit.
Bates was “outraged” by this attempt by FEMA to subvert the right of “patriots” to be greedy bigots. So he set-up his own company, and refuses to allow the federal government to interfere with the “right” of the people. You can have a “survival” kit for as “little” as $27 for a three-day stash of food. Of course, you could go down to the local Safeway and purchase canned food that will last longer than that, but the paranoid are paying for “peace of mind.” A three-month supply costs $497. The website is good enough to provide a “detailed” list of the menu, except that it looks like a variation of the military’s Meals-Ready-to-Eat—which Bates discourages people from collecting as an alternative.
What do people who actually fell for this shtick and made a purchase say? People who actually ordered the “introductory” food kits complained that they never received them, couldn’t get responses to their complaints, and that their computers were “hijacked” by web pages making “hysterical” claims after they made these “purchases.” Even those who actually received kits complained that they were useful only if you were planning on going on a crash diet; the menu was hardly “nutritious” and lacked sufficient calories per serving. One unhappy customer complained that “If there is some Federal agency out there that nails Internet fraudsters, I hope they catch these bunch of pukes.”
As they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Unfortunately, such knowledge is likely to be beyond the comprehension of right-wing extremists, Obama-haters and the otherwise fanatically paranoid.