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Industry Lobbyists' Deck of Cards

Ever wanted to be an industry-side lobbyist? You can learn the basics right here on!

I've made the entry to your new career simple with this privacy industry deck of cards. These cards articulate all the arguments you need to make your case, without actually knowing anything. Master these arguments, and you too could be a high-paid lobbyist for almost any tech industry. Update:Ed Mierzwinski of US PIRG has suggested some additional cards based on his years of experience of listening to inane arguments.

Before you play, it helps to know some strategy. Keep these rules in mind:

  • Delay almost always works to your advantage.
  • Muddy the waters where possible.
  • Exploit staffers' ignorance, where possible.
  • "Poison the well." If there is any flaw in the opponent's argument; suggest the entire campaign is unwarranted.
  • When hearing a consumer advocates' argument, deliberately misunderstand it and interpret it in the most absurd way possible
  • Employ the vagueness fallacy; speak of glowingly of the importance of "trust."
  • Denigrate Washington broadly, speak of "bureaucrats," etc.
  • If someone calls your bluff, use your joker or other face card.
  • If a lower-value card doesn't work at first, just keep on playing it over and over.

Now that you have some strategery, here are the cards:

Play this one initially: Claim that no problem even exists.

No Problem

If the problem is apparent, deny that it causes harm:

No Harm

If there is harm, dismiss it:

It's Just a Mere Inconvenience

You can always claim that the barrel isn't rotten, so there's no reason to take action. Blame it on "bad apples." For some reason, people find this argument compelling.

Bad Apples

If there is serious harm, play this card:

Wait and See

Go on the offensive and accuse the consumer groups of being do gooders:

You're a Ninny

If the industry is new, say that the proposal is unnecessary because of the industry's competitiveness. It doesn't matter whether the field really is competitive. People just like to hear that word.

Competition is magic

If the industry isn't regulated:

Self Regulation

If that doesn't work, create a bogus self-regulatory body to whitewash the problem:

Bogus Trade Group

If the industry is heavily regulated:

Already Highly Regulated

If the proposal touches on business practices or technology, say it will stifle innovation.

Stifles Innovation

Even better--if your opponent is a nitwit, argue that technology can't be regulated. A related argument is: "Punish the bad actors, not the technology."

Can't Regulate Technology

Argue that the proposal limits consumer choice. Mention that, after all, you are a consumer too.

Consumer Freedom in Jeopardy

It's time to invest a little bit of money in your campaign. Hire a professor to write something supporting your position that has enough of a patina of legitimacy to fool reporters. George Mason University, which is well positioned near Washington, is a great place to find crackpots who will support your case.

George Mason School of Law

Argue that the proposal shows a lack of understanding of the industry:

You Don't Understand Us

(If you employ this card, don't volunteer any information about the industry.)

Threaten that the proposal will cause the industry to leave the United States:

Screw You Guys!  I'm Going Home!

No one with a brain believes that argument, so you'll probably have to move on to a market posture argument. So, if there's a bear market, argue that the proposal is untimely because the economy is a "finely-tuned engine," and that Congress is at best an "inexperienced mechanic."

Bear Market

You know what to say if we're not in a bear market:

Bull Market

If you still haven't killed whatever proposal is vexing you, it's time to break out the high value cards. Almost any proposal can be read to be some sort of due process violation. So make an appeal to business civil liberties and inflate your unlikely likelihood of litigation success:

Our Rights!

Another popular one is to argue that the proposal will result in the government competing against the private sector. No one likes that, except for people who like things like public schools. So argue:

Big Government

If you're working on the state level, tell the staffers that the issue is being addressed at the federal level:

Federal Issue

If you're working on the federal level, you know what to say.

State Issue

By now, it's time for the really big guns. Time to play the Joker: Give money to the leadership. That way, the proposal might not even get a vote.

Give Money to the Leadership

As an industry lobbyist, you must stop the establishment of "private rights of action." This isn't hard, because everyone likes to deride plaintiff's attorneys. Be sure to mention that if there is a right to sue, it will result in meritless litigation.


Proposal will create a "patchwork" of compliance requirements.



We Can't Handle Comprehensive Regulation

If you're feeling bold:

We Need Regulatory Relief

By now, things are getting desperate. It's time to retreat to the last (or first) refuge for cowards: patriotism. Be sure to deride Europe and talk about how it's impossible to do business there, whether or not you've even been there.


And the related card:

Proposal is Communist

Proposal will cost jobs. Foretell gruesome effects.

Jobs in Jeopardy

If you know the law is about to pass, make sure that it has no substantive protections, and that all it gives is notice to individuals of business practices. You can go back and replay the 8 of Clubs (George Mason) and find an academic who will argue that all consumers need is notice of a particular practice, and then replay the 6 of Spades (market will remedy all problems). Amen.


On one hand, you want to preach the benefits of the free flow of information to consumers and the economy. On the other, you don't want information to be too free. For instance, what if a pesky legislator wants you to disclose information about security breaches? There is an importance balance here that you need to explain: information that benefits your company is good. Information that embarrasses your company is bad. And because there is so much bad information about your company, publication of it would overwhelm consumers and cause confusion.

Consumer Confusion

Argue that the proposal will limit anti-fraud, law enforcement, or anti-terrorism efforts.


Finally, when nothing is left, you can always argue that the proposal will cause the industry to lose money:

We'll Lose Money
Posted by chris at 01:02 PM on December 27, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

The Thinkpad Is Fucked

The WSJ reports: Lenovo Replaces Its Chief Executive With Dell Official. Time to buy a Mac.

Posted by chris at 01:42 AM on December 21, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Obesity is an Advertising-Related Disease

When you see the subtitle on an article "Institute of Medicine Document Likened to 1964 Surgeon General Tobacco Report," you know it means bad news for someone. In this case, it's big food and advertising. Check out today's Adage:

A government report today that accuses food marketers of using billions in marketing dollars to woo children away from good diet choices could become a watershed on the scale of the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on tobacco.

“Ample information and studies [indicate] that television advertising influences the food preferences, purchase requests and diets at least of children under 12 and is associated with the increased rates of obesity among children and youth,” concludes the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine report, billed as the ”most comprehensive review of the scientific studies.”

Posted by chris at 01:02 PM on December 06, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Dog Crazies Create New Site


Those San Francisco dog nuts have done it again. They've created a website defending pit bulls. They have all these cute pictures of dogs with signs saying, "we didn't do anything wrong," along with a threat that these wacks are going to vote against the democrats because of "breed-specific legislation." Can you believe it? Single-issue dog voters?


Ha! How's this?


Posted by chris at 12:10 AM on November 27, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Vogue Okay in China

This article says a lot about China and censorship.

Magazines are experiencing a renaissance in China, as more consumers with more disposable income turn to glossy monthlies for guidance on how to spend it -- and there's plenty of room for growth. In the U.S., magazines account for more than 10% of spending on advertising, while in China, home to the world's fastest-growing major advertising industry, they still account for just 2% to 3% of ad spending.


While Beijing controls all Chinese media, and the government has clamped down on foreign content on TV in recent months, the barriers for magazines, especially lifestyle titles, remain considerably lower.

New titles abound. In August, Advance Publications' Conde Nast teamed up with a government-affiliated partner to launch Vogue China...

Posted by chris at 09:08 PM on November 15, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Harper's Lapham to Retire

The New York Times reports:

Lewis H. Lapham, the editor of Harper's Magazine for nearly 30 years, said yesterday that he would retire as editor in the spring.
Posted by chris at 01:40 PM on November 15, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Xmas Watch: It's Nov. 11th, and the Holiday Frenzy Has Begun!

It's official! It's Xmas shopping season, according to our friends at DMNews, a direct marketing trade publication:

NEW YORK -- Let the games begin. The holiday shopping season started in earnest this week for several multichannel merchants unveiling attention-grabbing strategies that in at least one case saw excited shoppers snatching nearly everything in sight.

But what's even better is that this year, shoppers have fulfilled the marketers' holiday dreams by working themselves into a frenzy:

Inside [clothing store H&M;], the mood was more intense than at Abercrombie & Fitch, with frenzied shoppers grabbing handfuls of clothing off racks without looking at the size. Several people were walking around with armloads of clothing ... which explains why within two hours of opening the store, most of the stock was gone except for a few T-shirts, scarves and jewelry.
Posted by chris at 11:13 AM on November 11, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Girls Gone Wild Creator's Privacy, Anus Invaded

Via Drew Curtis' Fark.

Radaronline reports:

The camera pans to reveal his pants dragged down around his knees and a pink vibrator resting on the crest of his buttocks, lazily gyrating with an irritating whine. The mood is hardly erotic. The man on the screen looks like a hostage in one of those videos streaming out of war-ravaged Iraq: disheveled, sleep-deprived, disoriented, and, just maybe, fearing something on the order of an on-camera beheading. “My name is Joe Francis,” he says repeatedly in a damaged monotone, slurring his words in a continuous stream. “I’m from Boys Gone Wild, and I like it up the ass.”

The copy of this tape currently in the possession of the LAPD is the unlikely centerpiece of a trial that is set to begin next year ­ one that pits Francis, the 32-year-old multi-millionaire kingpin of the Girls Gone Wild video empire, against a small-time hustler who allegedly video-taped Francis in humiliating positions while holding him at gunpoint and later tried to blackmail his victim by threatening to release the tape.

Posted by chris at 11:16 PM on November 09, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati


Ha! I ran into Manson at the new Gottfried Helnwein show. We kicked it and talked about Rose.


Posted by chris at 11:19 AM on November 04, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

What Gun and Dog Defenders Have in Common

California just loosened its ban on breed-specific dog laws, thus allowing cities like San Francisco to take measures to address pit bulls and the like. I have tried to keep an open mind in this debate, and so I read some of the websites that oppose breed-specific legislation ("BSL"). And you know what, they use the same arguments that the NRA uses. Check it out--this is from

Why breed specific legislation will never work

BSL is a flawed concept from the moment it is conceived. In most cases the dogs are targeted leaving the owner, which is the responsible, rational thinking party, out of it.

Some impose fines along with their laws but are often not enforced to the maximum so the owner gets away with a slap on the wrist.

Dogs are not the problem and BSL does not reconize this. People are the problem and until we find a way to punish people for their neglectful actions which allow dogs to bite and terrorize the public we will never stop the problem.

First problem is, take one breed away, these people will find another breed to replace it.

Since the APBT bans the Rottweiler is now on the rise as the most popular breed.

Now these dogs are taking heat from the general public and the BSL supporters. Again they are restricting the dogs and not the people.

BSL can be compared to gender profiling or racial profiling. Simply because a dog appears to be a dog on the restricted list it is treated as one.

What if you were driving down the road and the police took you to jail, sentenced you, and placed you on death row just for looking like a certain ethnic group? BSL does exactly that to dogs.

So why is it then that more BSL laws are implemented daily? God forbid a person have to take responsibility for their irresponsible actions and BSL supports these people by not placing very harsh punishments on them.

Posted by chris at 02:40 AM on October 14, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Vice Magzine: Kill Your Parents

Ha! Vice Magazine has published a tirade against the baby boomers. Just imagine what will be said about "Generation X" by some future cohort labeled (and defined) by the marketing industry.

Posted by chris at 05:37 PM on October 12, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

SUV Drivers' "Freedom" is an Albatross!

Check out today's WSJ, where Gina Chon reports:

...falling resale values for traditional SUVs are making it harder for car owners who want to trade for less gas-thirsty vehicles.


The prices of used sport-utility vehicles have fallen by roughly 10% in the past few months, leaving many consumers stuck in rides they can't profitably trade in.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the value of a 2004 Ford Expedition fell by 9.8% to $22,200 from January to October, while the price of a 2004 GMC Yukon fell by 6.9% to $25,700 in the same period. The 2004 Hummer H2 was worth $41,700 in January but is now valued at $39,000.


"We've heard from a number of dealers that say they aren't taking SUVs as trade-ins any longer," Mr. McCready said. "Dealers see themselves in a risk position now because they already have a number of SUVs on their lot."

It must be getting a little stuffy in that big, slow and stupid SUV. $100 for a tank of gas. Lowering trade in value. Ha! SUV Owners of America, your so called "basic right to own and operate the vehicle of...choice and to use it for whatever transportation purpose" is more of an albatross than freedom!

Posted by chris at 01:05 PM on October 04, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Jon Stewart at Advertising Week

This article is both funny and telling. Funny because Jon Stewart was probably paid six figures to give a speech at advertising week, where he made fun of the magazine publishers:

An Advertising Week event designed to promote magazine publishing ran off the rails last night, when chosen moderator -- and magazine cover-boy favorite -- Jon Stewart ended up roundly mocking the editors on his panel and telling the assembled burghers of print that the medium now sits at “the children’s table.”

And telling because Ad Week basically states the nature of many public events, which are so controlled that interesting things rarely happen. Let's just say that this even, and Kanye West's talk, are rare.

Most marketing events, from press conferences to presidential “town halls,” are tightly controlled to prevent anything interesting from breaking out. So the Magazine Publishers of America deserves credit for taking an expensive risk (rumored price: $100,000) on hiring the big-draw Mr. Stewart and hoping for the best.
Posted by chris at 11:26 AM on October 03, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

My Junk Mail Experiment

Just for kicks, I decided that in moving to San Francisco, I would tell no business my home address. I started phone and electric service in false names, and forwarded my mail from DC to my new office in downtown San Francisco. I also decided to never open my mailbox, and since March, I've just let the junk mail pile up in it.

This evening I came home and decided to open the mailbox. It was chock full of crap, and only a single piece of mail was for me (addressed to an alias!). There were 12 offers for pre-approved credit for other people who no longer live here. There were 4 identical coupons for Bed, Bath, and Beyond. And there were 3 identical offers for RCN Internet service.

The fun continues. I am going to file prohibitory orders on all of the saturation mail (mail addressed to "current resident) with my trusty Postal Form 1500, which you can obtain from the USPS here. When you file such an order, the sender is barred by federal law from mailing you again. All first class mail will be marked "Refused" and will go back into the mailbox.

Posted by chris at 12:17 AM on August 24, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

Advertisers Fear Lack of Control Over Blogs

In today's Advertising Age, one will find this article that discusses Advertisers' fears that their products will sullied if they appear on blogs with objectionable content.

Is it safe to advertise in places on the Internet that are essentially run by consumers and cannot be controlled? How can they protect themselves and their good names when blog and chat-room users are liable to say and post anything? It’s not just pornography or off-color language that worries them. What if consumers got angry about something involving a marketer’s brand, and their remarks got linked to across the Internet? Maybe advertising in such open spaces is not worth the risk.

That’s certainly true for toy marketers, said Rick Locker, of law firm Locker Greenberg & Brainin, who represents the Toy Industry Association. “Most would view that guerrilla approach as not suitable for their products because they can’t control what goes on there.”

What does this say about advertising and its effects on more controlled media, such as newspapers? If advertisers fear the lack of control of blogs, does that not suggest that part of writing a newspaper is exercising control that will attract advertising dollars?

But technology is coming to the rescue of concerned advertisers:

…Scott Rafer, CEO of Feedster, a blog and RSS search engine and ad network…is building technology to monitor and filter blogs. The other major difference is that because the postings are predictable, the content can be monitored and controlled by automation or by human beings. If something objectionable is posted, an ad can be pulled within minutes, he added.

What does this mean for bloggers? Will they feel compelled to censor user comments or brand-specific criticism in order to continue to attract ad dollars?

Posted by chris at 02:59 PM on August 11, 2005 (Link) | Comments (0) | Technorati

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