Thursday, December 6, 2018

What really happened in 1992 – Not Perot or Clinton - but PhoneVoter and the power of Volitional Science

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

A small group of Voluntarists were persuaded by Brock d’Avignon, another Volitional Scientist, to spend time working feverishly on a plan to persuade candidates for President of the United States to sign up for FREE satellite time and participate in a Presidential Debate Tournament.  Sixty-fpur Americans had signed up to run for president in 1992 and most of them remained unknown then and now.   

These stalwart Voluntarists included Samuel E. Konkin, III, Bill Cousert, Ron Fink, Howard Hinman, Robert d'Avignon and Lawrence Samuels and Kent Hastings.

PhoneVoter was a business plan aimed at inserting interaction and dialog into political action and so catapulting candidates, and their ideas, characters, values and such, into public view. 

Of the 64 presidential hopefuls only four candidates responded to multiple offerings of the proposals and the determined calls made by Brock d’Avignon, who at first had focused on  Libertarian and other minor party candidates. 

All were offered the same services, worth between $$400,000 a month, or $500,000 - $800,000 in total for the campaign period.  Keystone Satellite Communications, Inc., was the generous donor for satellite time.  Their hope was to elicit more purchases of satellite time for all sixty-four political candidates. 

Videos of candidates who did participate were Uplinked from Keystone’s Technological HQ at 6430 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, 6th Floor.  

To a person, everyone who Brock managed to contact claimed they did not have the money to pay for the satellite time which it was made clear was being offered free.  This did not change, no matter how carefully Brock explained how easily they could sell advertising. 

Or they did not have a camera, could not make their own video or, the reasons were many.

Brock explained over and over how television works, to no avail, even though in some cases he offered to help sell ads to pay for their shows himself.     

Brock called the campaigns for all candidates for the nomination and only Lee Wrights responded.  Lee was unable to get anyone to believe a real satellite company would offer free services.   

Andre Marrou’s Campaign HQs was called morning, mid-day and in the evening.  Brock or one of the other Voluntarists faxed and snail-mailed the Marrou HQ and the National Libertarian Party HQ continuously.   Despite the fact Michael Emerling Cloud will take anything he can get, no one stirred.  Brock gave up, focusing attention first on Perot. 

The four candidates who accepted some services were, in order of their response to the offer:  Ross Perot, Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan and Bill Clinton.

Ross Perot, unwilling to pay for anything, had the Owners of America, Inc., running Capitol Calling Card 700 Telepoll.  For $.99 for each call participants would vote AGREE or DISAGREE on the question of the week, which was then sent to the media and their Congresspersons.  Brock was writing the questions and so included a second option of, “Would you favor force of law as a penalty or military action?”

Brown decided to use the UneditedPresidential Candidates Speeches Program in March but it took Jerry some time to get his video tape he owned together.  Brock suggested a visual stunt of having Federal Tax Code Books (70 volumes) tossed into a trash truck.  Unfortunately, the Clinton’s got wind of this exciting event and ensured no trash truck was available.  Undeterred, Brown threw the books into a trash can as he held up his 1040 Postcard Form. 

Bay Buchanan ensured Brock received a copy of an unedited speech which Pat had made so he also availed himself of this service.    

Brock received a call from two voices identified as “Marcus and Greer”, who identified themselves as “Media Consultants for the Clinton Campaign” in the third week of March. It was clear they had read the offer made in detail.   

One of the voices, who Brock identified at Frank Greer, asked about how they could obtain services at a price they could afford.  Greer shared that the Clintons were down to $50,000 and their Bus HQ.  The second voice was not Hillary, but perhaps could have been Bill himself since no one named Marcus was employed by the Clinton Campaign.

Brock sent on more information, recommending they immediately rent the only available satellite uplink truck left in the country at a cost of $35,000 a month.  The voice which-was-not-Greer asked about how they would pay for the gas.  Brock told him with the mass-audience generating money would no longer be a problem as long as news directors were informed it was available.  He told them in detail how to accomplish this.  And so it was. 

On another of several calls Brock also advised Greer and Voice which-was-not-Marcus, that Craig Reese, the Keystone Studio Manager on Sunset Blvd.,  said Bill would be better off handling the mike himself in his jaunts across America.  Craig had seen Bill dealing with an MC and knew he did better when he was in control. 

Brock had faxed them, “Do you want it?”  But he never heard from them again. 

Brock knew they had gone around him to get the Uplink truck because he was told by annoyed folks at Keystone this had taken place.   

The advice so provided proved to be true and the insolvent Clintons were soon rolling in dough and edged out Jerry Brown by about three days.  Brown had taken the time to send videos of the Love Canal, which was a horrible outrage but for which it was not clear he had the rights.

The Unedited Presidential Candidates Speeches ran 16 hours a day for six weeks, alternating between Brown and Buchanan. At the bottom of the screen were AGREE - DISAGREE phone numbers.  This was a TV first.    

For the minor candidates the campaign season went as usual.  No one heard anything about them, saw them, or believed they existed. 

Keystone had seen Brock in action, so trusted him to handle the Master Control Panel for 22 Networks when the regular technician had to leave the studio.  His parting instructions to Brock were. “If you have to interrupt programming for some announcement, make sure it is during the programs and not the commercials.  If  that happens we will not be paid about $33.000 each if even one second of those is missing.” 

On May 1, 1992, Brock was in the studio alone as the Rodney King Riots mounted.  He could see an RV on fire, pillars of smoke and microwave video feed was coming in from camera trucks all over Los Angeles.  In the middle of this, it was announced the LAPD was asking Rodney King to address the city.

Brock knew this was going to be tight timing but important.  This was the feed for the entire country.   

After the commercials ended, to the second, Brock intercut into the Rodney King’s speech, so the entire country heard, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?.....” as the rest of this important speech continued  Brock watched the commercials approach.  The moment King stopped talking the fastest finger in the west made sure not a second of commercials was lost. 

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