January 31, 2014 4:15 am -

front-food-page-4-972x357Zack Beauchamp at Think Progress relates the sleazy tale of “Frank Bates,” a conservative out to expose a commie FEMA conspiracy — and sell you dehydrated foods:

On New Year’s Eve, I learned FEMA’s “Dirty Little Secret.”

It was the title of a fascinating email, one that had somehow dodged my spam filter. The message was suffused with breathless concern about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s recent order of “420 million survival meals;” such provisions are apparently “the #1 most critical item in a crisis.” You see, “FEMA knows that if you control the food supply, then you control the people.”

Normally, such paranoid ramblings merit nothing more than a quick delete and a sad shake of the head. But the New Year’s note stood out because of the source. I was being alerted to FEMA’s nefarious plot by no less than National Review, the nation’s most important conservative magazine.

“Please find this special message from our sponsoring advertiser Food4Patriots,” the publication wrote. “This important support affords us the continuing means to provide you with National Review’s distinctly conservative and always exceptional news and commentary. We encourage you to patronize our sponsors.”

Since being added to National Review’s subscriber list, I had received four emails from the venerable publication selling me on Food4Patriots’ plan to “make darn sure your family won’t go hungry or get herded into a FEMA camp” by purchasing the dehydrated food they’re hawking. …

“Communist food brainwashing,” Frank Bates solemnly warns us, “is infecting America.”

Bates is the pitchman for Food4Patriots; when you click the link in National Review’s email, you’re immediately directed to a crudely animated infomercial breaking down the brainwashing threat. Frank’s biography is one of the first things you learn in the shockingly long presentation (full thing’s on YouTube here). Bates is a resident of a small town outside of Nashville, where he lives with his wife Michelle and 2 kids. He lost his job a few years ago and since then, teaching people how to live free of both big government and big business has been his passion.

“Promise to keep this information to yourself and close family and friends ONLY,” Bates asks. “I don’t know how long it’ll be online, so watch it while you can” — before FEMA takes Frank’s video, and perhaps Frank himself, out of the picture.

It’s a longish read, but the tale of how Zack blew the whistle on a seedy racket that ended up using the National Review as an ad vehicle is well worth the time.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.