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colecrowe
02-26-2008, 07:00 PM
Perhaps because the Republican effort to "reform" Social Security is no longer an issue, the same AFSC people under a different name, "The Seniors Center," which describes itself as a project of "The American Service Council," have more recently sent out a different mailing, pleading for funds to support passage of the Social Security Preservation Act, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to prohibit the use of Social Security trust funds for purposes other than benefits.

Paul's bill has no chance of passing and is unnecessary because the Treasury borrows from Social Security to pay for many government functions and repays what it borrows. But organizations often use bills that have no chance of passing to raise money from the unwary.

Sounds like such an evil bill, doesn't it..."prohibit the use of Social Security trust funds for purposes other than benefits". How dare Ron Paul and those fiscal conservatives do that. I do agree that those, like Gingrich and Bush especially, who wanted to "privatize" social security, were dishonest and wrong--calling what they were doing "privatization" is like calling NAFTA "free trade".

Here's the article:
http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-bzsaul5579266feb16,0,5198143.column

There's no Social Security for you in this pitch
Saul Friedman | Gray Matters February 16, 2008Beware of a large brown envelope, like the one received recently by reader Robert W. of North Merrick, from the American Federation of Senior Citizens. It's intended to scare the hell out of you and take your money. And it could be a violation of the law.

The envelope proclaims, in large black lettering, "Your Social Security Preservation Card Must Be Signed And Dated Within The Next Ten Days. Influence Congress." The letter inside urges you to sign the "Social Security Preservation Card" if "you want your Social Security benefits to continue."

The letter asks: "Do you want your Social Security check to be guaranteed - without a threat that it could bounce because of insufficient funds?"

This twist on the Social Security fright mail that's been coming for years from right-wing networks is preposterous on its face, but some people will be frightened into responding. The so-called Social Security Preservation Card, of course, has no connection with Social Security. Social Security is safe for at least 40 years, its trustees say. It's no longer an issue before Congress, and even the president has abandoned his effort to privatize the system.

As you might suspect, the mailing had little to do with saving Social Security. Its bottom line is an appeal for "your generous donation of $25 or $50 or whatever you can manage to help AFSC work with conservative leadership in Congress to preserve and protect your Social Security."

Perhaps because the Republican effort to "reform" Social Security is no longer an issue, the same AFSC people under a different name, "The Seniors Center," which describes itself as a project of "The American Service Council," have more recently sent out a different mailing, pleading for funds to support passage of the Social Security Preservation Act, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to prohibit the use of Social Security trust funds for purposes other than benefits.

Paul's bill has no chance of passing and is unnecessary because the Treasury borrows from Social Security to pay for many government functions and repays what it borrows. But organizations often use bills that have no chance of passing to raise money from the unwary.

The AFSC and allied groups, registered as nonprofit organizations, are "separate legal entities," a staff associate says in an e-mail, but they all are based in a town house in Alexandria, Va., near Washington, D.C.

AFSC has a Web site, federation

ofseniors.org, which says it's "your resource for protecting senior citizens."

But while the site seeks contributions, it provides no information about its officers. The group's former "honorary chairman," Marvin Mondres, the only person named on the Web site, died in 2006. The letter now being circulated was signed by his wife, the current honorary chairman, Claire Mondres, who is soon to retire.

Other officers are not named.

Audrey Mullen, a public relations person for AFSC, acknowledged Marvin Mondres was the father-in-law of AFSC's organizer, Gary Jarmin, a Christian conservative activist, who is associated with the direct-mail organizations.

Jarmin also heads Christian Voice Inc., which originated a Congressional Report Card on moral and family issues. He was a director of the American Coalition For Traditional Values. And he is president and signs the letters of The Seniors Center, which is sending fright letters similar to those from AFSC.

Mullen said Jarmin never held office in AFSC. But in addition to his in-laws' involvement, Jarmin's wife, Gina, is registered as a paid lobbyist for AFSC and Christian Voice. Mullen said the AFSC mailings were sent to "members," but those I received from readers were unsolicited.

In 2005, Tucker Sutherland, editor of Senior Journal, an online newsletter, wrote that AFSC is "one of many [such groups] seniors should avoid." And Sutherland raised the possibility that the mailing, especially the envelope, may have broken the law. In 2005, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Virginia upheld a finding that another right-wing organization, the United Seniors Association, now called USA Next, misled senior citizens with its mailings on Social Security.

United Seniors was founded by another conservative network organizer, direct-mail specialist Richard Viguerie. A lower court fined United Seniors more than $554,000, and the appeals court unanimously agreed that the mailing's envelope violated the Social Security Act, which prohibits the use of "symbols, emblems, or names in reference to Social Security in hopes of preventing confusion by Social Security recipients."

According to Sutherland, the court disagreed with United Seniors' claim that the laws prohibiting deceptive communications did not apply to envelopes, and that the mailings' content should also be considered. The court held that once the envelope was opened, the deceptive mailing - the envelope - had served its purpose.

In the AFSC mailing, once the envelope is opened because of the "Social Security Preservation Card" ruse, the content is designed to frighten and to suggest that the "preservation card" has some relationship with a legitimate Social Security card: "Social Security is now facing certain disaster; conservative reform ... is the only solution to this crisis. ... I am asking you to immediately sign the enclosed Social Security preservation card."

If you've gotten such mailings, you may want to complain to a postal inspector. You also may send them to me so that I can alert others.

WRITE TO Saul Friedman, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY, 11747-4250, or by e-mail at saulfriedman@comcast.net.

ArrestPoliticians
02-26-2008, 11:37 PM
WOW good find. This reminds me of John Edwards' plan to save social security by "merging it with the general fund so that politicians are held accountable." I guess he didnt get the memo that the whole problem with social security is that the politicians are TREATING it like a general fund.