Dear Ted, Mr. Cruz, ex-Senator Cruz,
Sludge Reports (SR) isn’t sure how to address this letter to you after your latest dishonest stunt with Iowans. The link to this story is worth a read, for any not familiar with it yet. In short, Ted, the soon to be ex-Senator as he’ll never be re-elected, sent a ‘Voting Violation’ to citizens of Iowa. He has ‘…no regrets’.
“I will apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,” Cruz told reporters in Sioux City, Iowa.
Many will find this story funny, others will consider it an ill-advised tactic or ill-advised implementation of a tactic, and then there will be others who agree with Cruz and excuse it. That last group, like Cruz with an ‘end justifies the means’ mentality, are the one’s every American should be afraid of obtaining power.
The problem with politicians believing the end justifies the means, is exactly why Donald Trump is winning. You may argue that The Donald has done his fair share of focusing on ‘the end game’ during business transactions and other dealings, but a simple fact holds true with Mr. Trump, he doesn’t try to game innocent everyday people. Trump doesn’t want your Grandma to send him a $25 political donation. Trump doesn’t want to fool your Grandma into thinking she’s broken the law!
Instead, Trump thanks people for their support and does so without pressure to attend his rallies or send in donations to his campaign. What is wrong with this guy? That’s not how this game is played! How dare he… but back to Cruz.
Let’s consider some tactics of Zombie Debt Collectors, which all rely on scare tactics based on a false violation of law, and see if we can draw parallels with Cruz’s mailing.
- Identify old information which is no longer relevant.
- Statute of Limitation has run out.
- Debt discharged by other means.
- False information that has since been corrected and was never your debt.
2. Contact victim in an attempt to motivate them into action, that benefits you.
- Promise to report them for inaction.
- Threaten to sue if inaction.
- Verbally abuse or harass for inaction.
3. Promise to leave them alone in exchange for action.
So Ted, lets talk honestly for a minute about your mailing.
Did you dig up old information that may have no bearing on your target’s lives today? Yes, you have no idea whether they would participate or not and the old information is, well, old.
Did you then contact them, in an attempt, to motivate them into action by;
- Harassing them? Yes, you told their neighbors on them.
- Promising to report them if they refused to take action? Yes, you told them you would report them again after the caucus if they didn’t participate.
Did you promise to leave them alone if they took action? Yes.
But all that aside for a minute, did you use potential legal scare tactics as the top level rule of this mailing? Yes, the top of your mailing quite literally calls into question whether they broke the law in some way. Peer pressure is one thing, but even SR wondered what kind of fucked up caucus system Iowa had when this mailer showed up on my twitter feed with ‘Voting Violation’ in bright red, on a yellow ‘copy’, looking like a ticket or fine from the authorities.
SR only had doubts for a brief millisecond but admittedly SR was very confused in that time-span. Imagine your Grandma or any vulnerable person receiving that mailing and the terror they may have felt. Did I break the law? Do I owe a fine? What do I have to do to make this go away?
SR lived through this experience a year ago. A Zombie Debt Collector contacted SR’s 74 year old Mother for a $12,000 debt. SR’s Mother is by no means a vulnerable person per se. She’s intelligent, has her wits about her, spends much of her time capably taking care of a 97 year old Aunt, while still holding down a part time job, and volunteering as a bookkeeper for a charity.
She received a threatening legal looking letter about a debt though, with follow up calls demanding immediate payment! Not knowing what the debt was for, since she has no debts at all and hasn’t for a very long time, she did the smart thing and called her son SR.
She was panicked, make no mistake! She’s an honest hard-working American that always thinks the best of others and has a hard time understanding evil. SR believes that also describes a large portion of Americans, that simply have no time to investigate fraud, deception, and evil. Isn’t it a sad statement on the State of the Union that we should, to protect ourselves and our loved ones?
SR, armed with full power of attorney from a plan developed five years earlier, called the debt collector to try and clear it up. The debt collector’s immediate response was threats of lawsuits, threats of defamation with credit reporting agencies, and a demand for immediate payment via credit card or certified bank check.
Three hours later, the debt collector finally agreed to share the details of the debt. Up until then, they stated clearly that if the debt was not paid immediately, then SR would find out the details from the lawsuit after it was filed. Only after they realized SR had a firm grasp of the laws surrounding debt collection, did they cave.
The result, an outdated debt listing from a car loan 20 years ago. A car that SR witnessed being traded in for a new car with the dealer. A debt that was owed to a small town local bank where everyone knows everyone. A debt would never survive face to face dealings for even 3 months, forget 20 years more.
Even if the debt was still valid all these years, the Statute of Limitations would have run out long ago. Make no mistake though, this was just an old historical debt listing the Zombie Collector’s were rummaging through to see if any poor sap would fall for it. The debt was paid in full 20 years ago.
It still took a call to the CEO of this Zombie Debt Collection agency before they decided to leave this one alone. It wasn’t quite that easy though, that CEO stated plainly that he did not regret the action they took to collect old debt. He stated plainly that unless I was a lawyer representing her, they have nothing more to say until the court date.
The CEO finally stated plainly that he would leave her alone after realizing SR wasn’t playing games. SR already had a law firm lined up and the willingness to throw 5x the supposed debt at taking down his collection agency.
Many may consider that foolhardy, since they had no legal course to collect the $12,000. Consider though, they scared an elderly honest hard-working woman to the point of panic. SR would have willingly paid 5x that amount to tie them up in court for harassment and any settlement won would have been donated to charity, after the lawyer fees were reimbursed.
Donald Trump may be many things, but he’s honest about his opinion and doesn’t prey on the weak or naïve amongst us. In fact, quite the opposite. If you go down the list of people Trump has gotten into squabbles with, you’ll quickly find they pretty much started it.
Not only did they start it, they are people with their own power in their particular industry. Pick your fight and start googling. Does anyone consider Rosie O’Donnell weak and powerless? How about Fox News? Are any of the people who have fought with Trump weak, naïve, or powerless in any way?
SR views the world in a simplistic manner. Not because of an inability to grasp the minutiae, but rather because decision making is easy when you ignore the noise, and focus on the plain facts.
Here are the facts;
Ted, the almost ex-Senator, is unapologetic for his Zombie Debt Collection tactics. Even the people who came up with the political version of using peer pressure for ‘get out the vote’ efforts, have stated clearly that his implementation of it was completely wrong on many levels.
Ted, the almost ex-Senator, may not have originally approved this mailing. A simple fix for him would have been to fire the douchebag who has the complete lack of sound judgment. Instead Ted’s judgment is so flawed that he not only has that person still working for him, he is publicly endorsing the poor judgment and mailing!
Ted, the almost ex-Senator, has just shown the American people that he is not fit for office with his ‘ends justifies the means’ mentality and poor judgment. We’ve already had 8 years of that! Beer summit anyone?
SR would trust Donald Trump to provide financial or any other advice to an aged Mother. For that matter, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, and Rand Paul, would also be welcome to speak with SR’s Mother without supervision. They are all honest men. I firmly believe that if SR’s Mother ever spoke with any of them, SR would not receive a panicked phone call afterward. Rather, she would call to share the wonderful experience she had meeting them.
The rest of the pack, with Ted at the lead, would be cause for concern. Thankfully SR’s Mother does not live in Iowa and Ted will be long gone from the race before reaching SR’s state.
And that’s how SR views the world! Goodbye Ted, you just lost.