6.5 Obfuscating reality
The difference between the powerful and most of the rest is that the rest is busy with basic needs, the local environment and the short term future. While you are reacting to the short term effects of strategies and realities prepared decades and even generations ago the powerful are already creating a new reality for you. Karl Rove, Bush’ chief of staff formulated this as follows:
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Ron Suskind quoting Karl Rove
This was Karl Rove speaking deep truths about power: every act of power is associated with efforts to mask the real intentions of that act by creating alternative realities. That is how empires, secret services, and secret societies have worked though out the ages. They create layers of realities which obfuscate the “real” reality and make you either waste your time on irrelevancies instead of on important aspects of actual reality or they make you waste your time in figuring out what is actually happening.
Former white collar criminal Sam Antar writes the following about Understanding White Collar Criminal Behavior. Read this with politicians, businessmen, and the clergy — who also have white collars — in mind.
According to various studies conducted by the Association of Certified Examiners, approximately 95% of white collar criminals have no previous criminal record. In fact, the higher the monetary value of the economic crime, the less likely it is that the perpetrator will have a previous criminal record.
White collar criminals know that people live on the hope of a better financial future. The white collar criminal’s job is to feed people’s hope with their spin and lies.
Initially, the white collar criminals attempt to build a wall of false integrity around them to gain the trust of their victims. They showcase their good deeds, such as giving money to charity and helping the poor and needy, in order to help build a public perception of integrity. For example, as the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I walked old ladies across the street and gave huge sums of money to charity, while having no empathy whatsoever for the victims of my crimes.
White collar criminals measure their effectiveness by the comfort level of their victims. Those false perceptions of integrity that criminals build around themselves help to mask their criminal intents by increasing the comfort level of their victims, and corroding skepticism of the criminal’s actions.
The white collar criminal always has the initiative to commit their crimes. They have no respect for society and their victims. White collar criminals consider your humanity as a weakness to be exploited in the execution of their crimes. By your humanity, I mean your ethics, your morals, and our great laws that create the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Your trust, your morality, your ethics, and our great legal system limit your behavior, while giving white collar criminals freedom to commit their crimes and obstruct justice.
Trust is a professional hazard that will destroy the careers of journalists, Wall Street analysts, auditors, and criminal investigators. For example, during the cold war, President Regan used to say about his dealings with the Soviets, “Trust, but verify.” The inclination to initially trust and later verify, gives white collar criminals a major advantage over their victims. While you initially trust white collar criminals, they work on ways to solidify your trust before you verify.
The white collar criminal hopes that you will never verify. Even if you do verify, your skepticism of the criminal’s deceptive answers may be corroded your comfort level. In other words, you will accept the criminal’s deceptive answers as factual.
In any case, as the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I found that most journalists, Wall Street analysts, investors, and auditors did not know how to ask proper questions, who to ask the proper questions to, how to handle my deceptive answers, and how to ask appropriate follow up questions.
Politicians, businessmen, and the clergy also have white collars. And some are criminal.
The Art of Spinning: http://www.whitecollarfraud.com/1583432.html
Sell people hope. My cousin ‘Crazy Eddie’ Antar taught me that “people live on hope” and their hopes and dreams must be fed through our spin and lies. In any situation, if possible, accentuate the positive.
Make excuses as long as you can. Try to have your excuses based on at least one truthful fact even if the fact is unrelated to your actions and argument.
When you cannot dispute the underlying facts, accept them as true but rationalize your actions. You are allowed to make mistakes as long as you have no wrongful intent. Being stupid is not a crime.
Always say in words you “take responsibility” but try to indirectly shift the blame on other people and factors. You need to portray yourself as a “stand up” guy or gal.
When you cannot defend your actions or arguments attack the messenger to detract attention from your questionable actions.
Always show your kindness by doing people favors. You will require the gratitude of such people to come to your aid and defend you.
Build up your stature, integrity, and credibility by publicizing the good deeds you have done in areas unrelated to the subject of scrutiny.
Build a strong base of support. Try to have surrogates and the beneficiaries of your largess stand up for you and defend you.
If you can, appear to take the “high road” and have your surrogates do the “dirty work” for you. After all, you cannot control the actions of your zealots.
When you can no longer spin, shut up. For example, offer no guidance to investors or resign for “personal reasons.” Your surrogates and so-called friends can still speak on your behalf and defend you.
If you are under investigation always say you will “cooperate.” However, use all means necessary legal or otherwise to stifle the investigators. Remember that “people live on hope” and their inclination is to believe you.
When called to testify under oath (if you do not exercise your 5th amendment privilege against self-incrimination) have selective memory about your questionable actions. It is harder to be charged with perjury if you cannot remember what you have done rather than testify and lie about it.
However, before you testify have other friendly witnesses testify before you to defend you. You need to “lock in” their stories first (before they change their minds) so your testimony does not conflict with their testimony and your story will appear to be more truthful.
Try not to have your actions at least appear to rise to the level of criminal conduct or a litigable action. Being stupid or being unethical is not always a crime or a tortious action.
One last rule, to be a most effective spinner always keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The kindness you show your enemies will reduce their propensity to be skeptical of you.
If you see some of the above similarities in people who are in authority such as executives, politicians, and others, you are forewarned to watch out. Before a person can be a white collar criminal, they must be deceitful and be able to follow most of the above rules of spinning.
Hope the positive emotion of the powerless
Hope is a dangerous emotion. The New Oxford Dictionanary defines ‘hope’ as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Hope is indicative of lack of control. We all hope for the best when we have prepared something and wait how the world will respond to it. That is the best type of hope. The worst type of hope is to simply hope that things turn out for the better without any preparation or involvement. Baseless hope if you like.
Before his first election campaign Obama wrote a book with the title “The audacity of hope”. Audacity means “the willingness to take bold risks.” So “the audacity of hope” is something like: “the willingness to take bold risks through feelings of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” This sums up Obama’s overall strategy. He elicited high but baseless hopes in his electorate and made them take the bold risk bold of electing him.
So what is the bold risk? Well some will argue that he, further facilitated the transitions of the USA into a police state. As police state the USA is not yet very suppressive (nor was Germany in 1933). And the same the people that voted for Obama in the hope he would solve their problems, can only hope that Obama will not yet direct the full suppressive apparatus he has to his disposal at them. Hope is the positive emotion of the powerless.
And in this case unfounded hope might be founded
My cousin Crazy Eddie Antar taught me that “people live on hope.” As white collar criminals, we preyed on your hopes and dreams by feeding you our spin and lies.
Investors demand confident leadership and strong financial performance from company managements. They want to hear management exuding confidence about their company’s future business prospects. Eddie and I built an image of strong and confident leadership by promising investors a prosperous future backed up by our phony financial reports.
As criminals, we considered the humanity of investors as a weakness to be exploited in the cold-blooded execution of our crimes. We measured our effectiveness by the comfort level of our victims.
My cousin Eddie and I built walls of false integrity around us to gain the trust of our victims. We claimed that Crazy Eddie’s accounting policies were “conservative.” In addition, we gave huge sums of money to charity and were involved in many popular social causes in an effort to make investors comfortable with us. While we were in effect, “helping old ladies cross the street,” we were heartlessly executing a massive fraud that wiped out the life savings of thousands of investors and ultimately caused a few thousand people to lose their jobs.
Eddie Antar and I never had a single conversation about morality or right and wrong. We simply did not care about the victims of our crimes. Our conversations only focused on the successful execution of our cold-blooded schemes to defraud investors.
At Crazy Eddie, we committed our crimes simply because we thought we could execute them successfully. We took advantage of investor’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations for a better future. More importantly, we fully exploited investor’s lack of skepticism that resulted from the wall of false integrity we built around ourselves.
Hope is a fine human quality that motivates us to build a better future. Unfortunately, criminals consider your hope as an exploitable weakness to aid them in the successful execution of their crimes.
Do not get mesmerized by neatly packaged story lines and well researched sound bites written by professional high paid media consultants. Criminals know how to “talk the talk and walk the walk” as they inspire you with false promises of a prosperous future.
In the New Year, please do not let criminals exploit your hopes and dreams. In addition, you are cautioned to apply the same advice to our elected officials from all sides of the political spectrum who exploit your hopes with inspiring rhetoric to sell you flawed solutions to major problems facing our nation.
Have a skeptical New Year.
Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and a convicted felon)