Meetings – What’s The Point?

Meeting – What's The Point?

I've been trying to be more focused on just a few projects that have income and/or enjoyment potential for my particular life's desires. Part of that behavior modification is that I'm going through another round of getting DIS-connected from all the junk that gets into my Inbox (although I'll admit that much of that is my own fault for clicking on certain 'once in a lifetime offers' in the first place).

This Inbox pruning process is something I find myself having to do at least every 6 months or so.

But there's another time waster of a different type and, although I don't have a major problem with it right now, the potential is always there and I read an interesting article tonight that relates to it. 

What is that evil, time-wasting problem?

MEETINGS!!!

Meeting conduct and management have long been a staple item of management literature and training. One reason the problem persists is because technology is constantly changing the way that people can have meetings  whether they be productive or not. Note: One example of that is Dropbox's new product—

Note: One example of that 'progress' is Dropbox's new product— Paper which I just read about tonight (I don't see any use for it for myself).

But it seems to me that meeting in general tend to gravitate toward becoming time-wasters rather than becoming more efficient. 

I just read this article, a very short article (coincidentally), about the way that Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and several other hi-tech projects, holds his (infrequent) meetings. It made so much sense and was articulated so well that I felt compelled to share it with some spin of my own.

The basic message of the article (and presumably part of the reason Mr. Musk is so successful) is: 

Don't have meetings without a purpose and don't go to meetings unless you have a purpose and/or can make a contribution to the group.

I think that's a good rule to follow. But I also think it's worthwhile to recognize why it's easier said than done in this digital and entrepreneurial age where 'meeting technology' is everywhere and many so-called gurus preach the necessity to 'build a tribe').

First of all, we need to remember that there are employees and entrepreneurs. Usually (but not always) most employees in companies are less of an entrepreneurial mindset than the stereotypical entrepreneur working from his/her home office.

Group Member Type 1 – These group members are usually employees. They're paid to come to work and/or be part of whatever meetings the 'boss' wants them to attend. If he/she wants them to waste time listening to him tell fishing stories, rant, or preach, that's his prerogative but those cases he/she is just keeping those employees from actual productive activity and abusing his authority and his employee's time.  

Group Member Type 2 – These members are voluntary members of the larger group, i.e. a decentralized organization or interest group of some sort. They are entrepreneurs who presumably believe in the mission of the company or organization. But, even those these people are independent contractors and leaders also need to be careful when holding meetings with this group.

Why?

Because it's easy for leaders to get addicted to the ritual of having their fan club gathered around their dais hanging on his/every word like N.Korean generals when Kim Jong-un is 'in the house'.

It's also often tempting for members of Group 2 Tribes to attend these meetings because (1) they like being entertained, (2) they think somehow it's going to increase their positive Karma, (3) they're hoping the boss will throw them a trinket, or (4) they really don't have anything better to do.

In my humble opinion, meeting policies needs to be re-examined periodically… especially as an organization grows. Meetings can become productive events or counterproductive time wasters that ultimately do more harm than good.

I even think a case could be made for not inviting people to meetings without the understanding that they will try (or, in some cases 'be allowed' to make) a contribution.

Meeting formats where participants are ridiculed or belittled for asking questions or voicing unsubstantiated opinions do not set a good example although the damage is not always immediately apparent…. unless the specific agenda for the meeting is only information dissemination. 

Note: The problem with 'information dissemination only' meetings is that it's very difficult to have a meeting with absolutely no two-way conversation. Long-term… most people are not interested in being a part of any group where their input is not at least allowed (or better yet…respected).

Next time you think about putting on or attending a meeting, remember the advice Tom Hopkins gives in his sales training seminars: "Is this the most productive thing I could be doing with my time (right now)?"

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
email me here

It’s Simple Stupid – There Ain’t No Money

It's Simple Stupid – There Ain't No Money!

You know, by some interpretations of the Bible it's pretty clear what we can expect in the End Times.

It will be a world full of crooks where honor and integrity will be hard to find. But perhaps the most shocking part of that scenario, for 'average folks', will be that so many professionals and so-called leaders will be among the biggest crooks and liars.

By professionals I refer especially to bankers and politicians but the same thing can be said about anybody who promises one thing and then suddenly changes their story later as if anybody who remembers the promises (or perhaps 'assertions' would be a more accurate word) which they made not so long ago must have been on drugs or something…. e.g. something will be worth $1 on such and such a date when it actually turns out to not be so.

I've long been a fan of Infowars.com and Alex Jones and I was interested  just a few days ago when Alex had Harry Dent on his show. In case you don't know Harry Dent, he is Founder of HS Dent Investment Management, an investment firm based in TampaFlorida that advises, and markets the Dent Strategic Portfolio Fund mutual fund. Mr. Dent is also the president and founder of the Dent Research and H.S. Dent Publishing.

But first, a little info about what makes Mr. Dent unique. His basic claim to fame is that he is an expert on demographics. He's not somebody who makes predictions on theories of economics. He looks at history and spots recurring cycles.

For example, he's the kind of guy who says that if a car is going 60 mph on an icy road as it approaches a curve in the road and there's historically been plenty of accidents on that particular part of the road in icy weather, it's logical to expect that the present speeding vehicle is going to have an accident.

This relates to the Bible in the sense that the Bible clearly says there will be very bad times for the average person in the End Times. Somebody has to be wrong and somebody has to be right, either the Forbes readers or Bible scolars, wouldn't you imagine?

You can't have it both ways just because its momentarily expedient for you to see one rather than the other. Or, as the great Arthur L.Williams Jr. used to say: "Wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up first."

Indeed, Mr. Dent has an incredibly accurate record of economic predictions based on:

  1. Demographics
  2. Historically validated geo-political cycles
  3. Historically validated cycles of Innovation
  4. Historically validated 10 Boom and Bust Cycles

To be honest, I've never read any of his several books but I have heard him discuss his ideas several times on Infowars and everything he says makes perfect sense to me. It it just seems foolish to have a particular set of circumstances that are eerily similar to a previous time where the exact same set of circumstances existed yet to expect a different outcome.

It was amusing, on this recent Alex Jones show, to watch Alex, who is a huge Trump supporter, try to tactfully argue with Mr. Dent and Dent's prediction that the US economy is headed for 'Deep Doo-doo' (a prognostication which I tend to agree with). Harry insisted that there is no way to avoid an extremely disruptive correction of decades of bad economic, monetary, and geopolitical policy which not only the US but almost the entire world has engaged in for at least an entire generation (if not more).

Before Donald Trump emerged as a surprisingly refreshing factor in the US Presidential elections, Alex was an excellent source of honest statistics and commentary about the dire state of the US economy, the US consumer's situation, and the global economy. But lately he seems to have conveniently forgotten the reality of the very facts that he dutifully reported just a couple of years ago.

Mr. Dent's contention is that the implication of those facts has not magically disappeared simply because a guy with orange hair and wearing a white hat suddenly arrives in town. Dent says that the corrections will and must take place…. an assertion of course very similar to that of two other contrarian prognosticators, Peter Schiff and Gerald Celente.

But there is yet another example of storm clouds gathering.

Maybe you've heard about the War on Cash?

Simply stated, the war on cash is about the admitted fact that the traditional banking industry, supported by accomplices and shills in worldwide governments, wants to deprive the consumer (AKA: the voter) of the right to have and use cash money. Although that battle has been going on for a few years already, the average consumer is relatively unaware of it… sort of like the story about the frog which doesn't realize it is being slowly boiled to death.

However, this article from www.sovereignman.com is a clear indication that the enemy is still very active…in Europe anyway. And one would naturally wonder what might be going on behind the scenes in the US. After all, Trump's new team comes in large part from the traditional banking and Wall Street sector, right?

The SovereignMan article gives some pretty shocking examples of very restrictive regulations already imposed or soon to be imposed upon Europeans (i.e. restrictive in relation to the economic freedom one enjoys with a pocket full of cash vs. a worthless credit card on a closed bank).

Think about this….

Anybody who knows anything about America, its Constitution, and the country's history knows that America is unique among nations for its 2nd Amendment, i.e. the Constitutional freedom we have to own firearms. Constitutionalists, embodied in the NRA, have thus far been able to resist globalist efforts to disarm America.

But what would happen if patriots didn't have any money to buy ammunition for their guns?

There is a connection here.

How effective would a resistance movement be if the government can peer into any room of your house via government mandated 'smart meters'?

They already can.

Or what if the government was recording virtually everything you say on your smartphone or the internet?

They already are.

How easy would it be for an oppressive government to demobilize a patriotic resistence movement, on the pretense of COG (Continuity of Government), by either the kill switches already installed in some vehicles or by more surreptitious means which they also might already have? Note: Not to mention the fact that they already control the nation's fuel supplies.

It wouldn't be that difficult even now.

Now, assuming some patriots will see the impending danger of these converging forces, especially regarding government restrictions on cash-money, what might they do?

Remember bitcoin?

It's all the rage right now, right? 

Some people are expecting that cryptocurrency will usher in a new age of entrepreneurship, freedom, prosperity,  sunshine, and flawless completions for everybody. 

I'm not so sure. If you've read my articles, Will Cryptocurrency Become Another Fascist Ripoff?, or, "Excuse Us – Perhaps You'd Like some Fedcoin?" you'll know why.

There is no doubt that today's banking elite are seriously interested in the cryptocurrency phenomenon. They've already admitted being interested in it. But don't forget that JP Morgan (our buddies, right?) have already tried to get a patent on their version of a virtual currency like bitcoin. Luckily their application was rejected for lack of anything original.

But you can bet that they're very worried about cryptocurrency and they're not happy about letting something that potentially powerful escape from their control. Wouldn't it be rather naive to expect them to use something that powerful in any way different than they use the power they already have?

Assuming the government acquires any substantial degree of involvement or control of cryptocurrency, would that be a good thing for us.

I don't think so. Wouldn't that just be exchanging a cast iron pair of handcuffs for a stainless steel pair?

And if the government succeeds in eliminating cash money from our lives, we will be equally less free.

I think that would be a pretty dumb-ass decision to trust the government with control of the medium of exchange we use in our daily lives. Look what it's gotten us so far. But that's what things are moving towards right now.

But look at the advantage to the government in a cashless society or a government controlled cryptocurrency system.

if you suddenly don't have any cash because the globalists have made it illegal to have more than $50 of it in your pocket, and/or the government has slowly restricted and virtually choked off its availability, and/or because the government has closed all the banks (remember COG?)…. you're screwed, aren't you?

Well Brian….welcome to the Brave New World. If Jesus doesn't come pretty soon…I think we're all screwed.

Governments don't have any money. They spent it all and their ain't no more.They're all crooks. It won't be long before they won't even need to lie to us. They'll just do whatever they want….because they can. I read the script.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and email Copywriting
email me here

 

 

 

Markethive – A Unique Writers Market?

Markethive – A Unique Writer's Market?

When computers first started hitting the market, back in the days of the Radio Shack TRS-80 and others, some industry observers thought that the computer would be the death of paper. But now we know that the exact opposite happened. People started generating more data…not less. And they needed paper to print it on.

The computer age has had a similar effect on the writing profession. Especially B2C and B2B copywriting. As digital publishing has boomed, the demand for writers has had a parallel boom. In fact, not only has the digital age resulted in an increased demand for content of all kinds but modern computers have also made the job of writing easier and quicker than ever before.

But still, job seekers in almost every profession still face the age-old problem of, "Where can I get the experience I need to build my portfolio?"

With writing as easy as it is nowadays (e.g. blogging), the simplistic answer would be, "Just start writing and somebody will read it". 

But a smarter and more tactical answer would be for the copywriter to find a community wherein he/she has an easy opportunity to write and be read.

Markethive might be such an environment…. but do Markethive community members, or the outside world, realize what a golden opportunity their community is to practive and hone their copywriting skills? 

Actually, I think not.

No doubt the demand for all types of writing has never been greater and although artificial intelligence and some recent software is capable of pretty good writing when used properly, there still is no substitute for a human writer. Especially for longer forms of writing and sales copywriting.

Publishers face the challenge of creating a steady stream of content on a regular basis but there is no way that any but the very largest and/or the most narrowly specialized entities can afford to keep writers on full-time payroll.

That's why the market for freelance writers gets stronger every year.  Freelance copywriters can always find work of some sort. The better they get at their craft, the more they can make. They can literally 'earn while they learn'.

The opportunites are huge. Here is a list of the top copywriting niches for 2016 as forecast by Carol Tice, Founder and CEO of Makealivingwriting.com:

  1. Case Studies
  2. White Papers
  3. Long Form Blogging
  4. Brand Journalism (think 'infomercials' in written form)
  5. Annual Reports
  6. Top Tier National Consumer Magazines
  7. Trade Publications
  8. Video Scripts
  9. Web Content
  10. Marketing eMails (including email series)
  11. Book Ghostwriting For CEO's (complex but very lucrative)
  12. Online Courses (a relatively new but booming niche)

All of these copywriting niches are wide-open to freelancers too. In fact, some experts estimate that as much of 50% of the copywriting work being done at any one time is being done by freelancers. Even companies which have their own writing staff very seldom do all of their own work all the time.

If you're in Markethive, you'll also notice that numbers, 3, 8, 9, 10 (of the list above) should be very familiar to anybody who has been around the internet marketing niche for very long. The only niche which has a skill subset unique to itself is #11, Book Ghostwriting For CEO's.

NB: If you can catch Carol Tice's 'Writers Den' membership site when it's open for membership, it offers courses in all of these subjects for only $25 a month. I've been a member of the Writers Den for a year and I highly recommend it. Right now they have an expert doing a course on Book Ghostwriting for CEO's. I've also taken their eMail Copywriting course and their Case Study Writing course….all taught by experts in the respective field.

There are two keys to becoming a good writer.

1. Practice
2. Mentorship

You need both.

You can get a lot of practice in Markethive and the Markethive blogging system makes it possible to get very wide 'reach' for your finished product.

Markethive does not offer any mentorship or training in copywriting. For that I recommend MakeaLivingWriting.com or AWAI. I'm a member of both. I actually owe my official start in copywriting to an AWAI course (Passport To Romance… a travel writing course).

But Markethive is a great place for a writer to practice his/her craft and potentially pick up some gigs from the built-in community and wide reach of its publishing system.

Markethive is free to join too. Join here.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
email me here

An Overlooked Part of The Swamp That Also Needs Draining

An Overlooked Part of The Swamp That Also Needs Draining

Here's something somebody forwarded to me today, supposedly circulating of Facebook and supposedly at least partially attributed to George Soros. Although I'm not a Facebook or a George Soros Fan, it does make sense.

It has to do with the original intent of our founding fathers that we would be served by citizens who were only temporarily serving as politicians. Most of us would agree that politicians have become a very unique privileged class which for the most part has done little to really help our country.

Since the majority of the problems Trump was elected to fix are primarily if not entirely financial, what about these interesting facts?

Consider these facts, whether they are justifiable, and whether or not they contribute to (or set a good example is solving) our financial problems:

Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

Here’s where the cuts should be made! 

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in five minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".

The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simply because the people demanded it. That was in 1971 – long before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet, in addressing these facts, once said that if each person (like I'm doing now) asked each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list and in turn asked each of those to do likewise, in just three days most people in The United States of America will have the message.

This is one idea that really should be passed around and here is the suggested essence of what knowledgeable people think should the….

The Congressional Reform Act of 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. Social Security funds may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It's time!

I agree that this is a very reasonable suggestion. What do you think? If Trump wants to "drain the swamp", how about draining the part of it that has flooded Congress?

 

Art Williams
Freeland Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
email me here

Steve Mnuchin Can’t Be Trusted

Steve Mnuchin Can't Be Trusted

If what people say is any indication of the way they think, entrepreneurs hoping that Trumps new administration and cadre will be true friends of the people may be in for a big surprise. Just listen to what Trump's new Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, has to say about the IRS, in his recent confirmation hearing before the US Senate. Here's the link.

Anybody who says that the IRS is underfunded and understaffed certainly doesn't have a Libertarian bone in his or her body but yes…. that's what Steve-O thinks.

What planet does he live on?!

Only an elitist bean-counter and pencil-pusher would focus on increasing the power and/or reach of an organization (the IRS) whose perception by the American public is carefully constructed on deception, obfuscation, and intimidation, and whose basic purpose only facilitates the continuance of activities the US government has no Constitutional authority to do anyway. 

If you think the IRS is 'the good guys', spend some time that will be good for your patriotic soul reading any part (but especially the first two chapters) of the late, great Irwin Schiff's book, "The Federal Mafia" .

What amazes me is that Trump allowed (or condoned without correction) one of his key guys to say something like this that is absolutely not what his supporters elected him to focus on.

Also note Mr. Mnuchin's statements in this video:

1.  He laments, "the tax-gap". Gee, did you know we had a tax-gap? I didn't. It's my understanding that the government has been collecting more taxes every year so where in the hell is all that money going? $150 toilet seats and US embassies in Timbuktu? Here are a few examples of the answer to that question…. but Steve-O thinks we need to spend more money on the IRS??!!!

2.  He says, "This is something I'm concerned about." Wouldn't any rational person who understood Business 101 know that cutting business expenses of operation (i.e. in this case by cutting the size of inefficient and/or rogue elements of government) is a more reasonable way to increase revenue than simply making an already inefficient organization even bigger?

3.  He says, "I'm concerned about the staffing of the IRS." What about all the lives ruined by the IRS? (Google "Lives Ruined By IRS" for more examples). Notice how you never hear the media defend any of those people. And you also never hear of government punishing 'their own'. (Cases in point: Lois Lerner and of course the famous "Smartest Woman In The World" Hillary Clinton).

I will admit I was very surprised to read the above-referenced article and hear Mr. Mnuchin make these statements. But…it all ties in with what I think should be the obvious danger of having, 'a great businessman' (Trump and his crew of business aristocrats) in such high authority. One would hope that he does not turn out to be one of these corporate efficiency experts who thinks replacing everybody with robots and financially 'milking the financial life out of those who remain' is the way to solve a nation's problems.

NB: Did you know that Trump's new tax plan would raise the federal income tax on the current two lowest income levels? Yeah…read about it here.

If it's not obvious yet…"No, I'm not unequivocally enthusiastic about Trump."

I don't like the fact that his new home-boys are mostly Wall Street and Banking types yet there is not one real Libertarian in the crowd. I worry that the voters' critical attention was diverted from the issue of freedom from big government to one of efficiency and honesty in government. I want both. 

If it turns out that all Trump brings is cleaner big government…there will be a lot of very red-faced voters. What we really need is cleaner and better small government. And damn sure not a bigger IRS.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
email me here

 

 

 

Is Social Media Bad For For Good Journalism?

Is Social Media "Bad" For For Good Journalism?

Mr. Eve Williams, CEO of Medium.com, thinks that social media fundamentally bad for good journalism. 

Why does he think that way?

He says, in this article, that the basic reason is because good journalism doesn't fit in well with the corporate funded necessity built into social media.

In his article entitled, "Renewing Medium's Focus", Mr. Williams does into more detail and say:

"Our vision, when we started in 2012, was ambitious: To build a platform that defined a new model for media on the internet. The problem, as we saw it, was that the incentives driving the creation and spread of content were not serving the people consuming it or creating it — or society as a whole. As I wrote at the time, “The current system causes increasing amounts of misinformation…and pressure to put out more content more cheaply — depth, originality, or quality be damned. It’s unsustainable and unsatisfying for producers and consumers alike….We need a new model.

Mr. Williams goes on to say the basic problem is that journalism needs ad revenue to get their product in front of readers. But ads are paid for by companies and commercial interests which usually are not interested in truth and accuracy (my words…not Mr. Williams') but rather in their own agenda which may or may not be good for the reader.

Almost all of that advertising comes from social media and…well..we all know what a banal cesspool social media has become, don't we? Most social media content is just an arms race of competitors to see who can be the most shocking, sleazy, ridiculous, trite, sensational, and outright crazy in order to 'get the click'.

Truth and critical thinking is not encouraged or generally rewarded. In fact, it is generally scorned and criticized.

Medium says they are shutting down two of their offices, laying off lots of people, and now working towards a better model which will continue to work toward their original goal of, "…defining a new model for writers and creators to be rewarded, based on the value they’re creating for people. And toward building a transformational product for curious humans who want to get smarter about the world every day."

Sounds like a noble goal to me.

Addressing Medium's announcement in his own article on another platform, Sean Blanda, Co-founder of @TechnicallyM., noted that although the younger generation unquestionably prefers to consume news online, their trust in it is at an all-time low.

Sean agrees with Mr. Williams on the reason for the problem but expresses it thusly: "…the incentive structure of online news is fundamentally broken."

His article is a longer read but gives a more detailed explanation of what he and Mr. Williams both agree is happening with online news and journalism today. The two articles fit well together.

I'm wondering if an answer to the problem of separating quality journalism from the taint of social-media could be to get more news and journalism from Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) where the possible advantage of a might be that the DAO has its own built-in producers, consumers, delivery system, and payment system.

If you're not familiar with what a DAO is, read this excellent article by Tom Prendergast, CEO of Markethive, one of the emerging successful DAO models on the internet today. 

Markethive is an online community for entrepreneurs and has just recently achieved a major funding objective for continued growth. It already has several unique proprietary technologies, with more on the way, and is ideally suited to enable the entrepreneur trying to establish and build a product, service, or brand. It is also free to join…here

 

Art Williams
Freeland Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
email me here

 

Coinbase Gets Legally Involved In IRS Summons Issue

Coinbase Gets Legally Involved In IRS Summons Issue

If you have any interest in bitcoin or the world of cryptocurrency you will know that the IRS has submitted a John Doe Summons to require San Franciso-based, digital asset exchange company Coinbase to submit a complete list of all their clients covering a period of 3 years from the years 2013-2015 inclusive.

In case you're not up to date in this continuing saga, here's the basics:

  1. In November, 2016, the US IRS filed a John Doe Summons, demanding three years (2013-2015) customer database records from Coinbase on the suspicion that some Coinbase users/traders may not be paying their cryptocurrency taxes. 
  2. Subsequent to this filing, Coinbase says they were aware of it and looked forward to discussing the matter but had concerns about the privacy rights of their customers.
  3. Subsequent to Coinbase's statement, on of their customers, Jeffrey K Berns of the Berns Weiss law firm in California, filed a request that the court intervene to stop the summons on grounds that is was overly broad and invasive of Coinbase customer privacy. Note: Mr.Berns also was and presumably still is a Coinbase customer.
  4. Next, the IRS tries to dodge Mr.Berns' filing by stating that since he is now officially known to them as a Coinbase customer he is therefore not a subject of the summons and therefore has no standing in the issue.
  5. Mr. Berns then says that that doesn't make any difference because the John Doe Summons statue do not prohibit him from making an inquiry into the issue, he still thinks the IRS is overstepping its legal authority, and he will still fight the matter in court.

So that's where the issue is as of today. Note that all of this has taken place within the last 90 days.

The latest news is that whereas Coinbase itself has not had any official, legal response to the IRS's filings, now it says it has something it wants to say in court too.

The big question is…."what and why"?

One could reasonably wonder what point Coinbase could make that Mr. Berns hasn't already made.

1.  The stated justification for the IRS's John Doe Summons is overly broad. But Mr. Berns has already said that.

2.  It is an invasion of privacy (in a commercial sense) but Mr. Berns has already mentioned that too.

3.  Not specifically mentioned but also true is that if the IRS can do this, it sets a very bad precedent for even more and potentially broader nefarious IRS demands in the future because it presumes guilt on a sub-set of Coinbase customers. For example, what's to prevent the IRS from demanding records of everybody who bought art supplies from an art supply store because they thought somebody was selling home-made paintings in garage sales and not paying their taxes?

Or, could the reason that Coinbase wants to got to court be that they are trying to set the stage to look like they are trying to stand up for the rights of their customers when they really are perfectly willing to give the IRS all they want?

After all, one way or the other the cryptocurrency business is here to stay. Coinbase could rationally say to themselves, "Our customers don't have any choice but to use or somebody like us if they want the kind of services we provide. So we'll just, under feigned protest, to keep the IRS happy and off our backs."

Nobody really knows exactly what it is that Coinbase wants to say in court but it will be interesting to find out because this whole industry of cryptocurrency is still in its infancy. Exactly how it will fit into our daily lives has yet to be defined either by governments or in terms of consumer acceptance.

It would be nice if those who think that we are seeing the dawn of a grandiose new era of free enterprise and laissez-faire entrepreneurship were right. But all the chips haven't fallen into place yet and cryptocurrency could just turn out to be an excuse for more government intrusion and intrusion into the affairs of normal people.

For more details on these proceedings, just Google, "Coinbase IRS John Doe Summons".

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
email me here

 

Why You Should Keep A Copywriting Swipe Notebook

Why You Should Keep A Copywriting Swipe Notebook

 

A Copywriting Swipe Notebook is a notebook wherein you copy down examples of copywriting that you find as you read other writers' copy. It's a personal collection of what you consider good copywriting.

I think everybody who writes should have a Copywriting Swipe Notebook and here's a case in point to show you just one of the potential instances where you might want to do it. 

It's Saturday morning here in beautiful Barranquilla, Colombia where I live and I just got up. As usual, the first thing I do is check my email.

In my email I see an email from some guy who I could have sworn I had already unsubscribed from…but I read it anyway.

As I'm reading through it I very quickly realize that I have absolutely zero interest in anything its talking about and my immediate impulse it to DELETE it.

But wait!

I do notice one thing.

I notice a phrase that pops out at me and I think, "I've heard that phrase a million times before". 

The phrase is, "Believe me when I say that you've never seen anything like it."

Of course I think to myself, "Yeah….Bullshit!"

But nevertheless I realize that if I have seen that phrase so many times before that there might be a reason copywriters are using it. Maybe the reason is because it works in 'getting the click'. 

So what did I do?

I wrote that phrase down in a spiral notebook that I recently started specifically for the purpose of capturing copywriting phrases that 'the BIG dogs' use. I figure that if it's making money for somebody else it can make money for me too.

The point of this story?

The point of this story is that I may or may not ever use that phrase in my own copywriting. Very possibly it will soon be buried in pages and pages of similar notes (if I really get into the habit of taking copywriting example notes like this). 

But at least I'm making an effort to train my mind to be perceptive to the techniques of other copywriters. After all, the person who wrote that email is probably making money doing it, right?

I think that you can always benefit from copying success but you have to learn to recognize it first. In copywriting, you can just be observant of what other successful copywriters are doing.

Experts know that it's OK to copy success. I'll never forget one of the learning techniques taught in the first writing courses I ever took from AWAI (American Writers and Artists Institute). The course was, "Six Figure Copywriting", one of their biggest courses on copywriting. 

One of the things which that course recommended was taking recognized masterpieces of copywriting and copying them out by hand. Sure, that's a lot of work. But the physical act of doing it also embeds those words in your mind.

And that's the object isn't it…i.e. you want those words and phrases to become part of your skills inventory, right?  

If you do this, I think you'll gradually become increasingly perceptive to what good copywriting is. After all, the basic formulas don't change. They make other copywriters lots of money every day and if you learn them, they'll make money for you too. 

Regards,
Art

Does A Drained Swamp Look Like This?

Does A Drained Swamp Look Like This?

Much has been said by Trump and his supporters about “draining the swamp” but I’m wondering if the picture we see shaping up is really what a drained swamp is supposed to look like. When you drain the swamp, is it the water you want to get rid of or the dangerous animals in it?

I will admit that I supported Trump as best I could during his campaign but that was not only because I have some regard for what I know of his record but also because I had a great distaste for what I know of Hillary’s record. And Bill’s record too.

Note: Only a fool would have believed that Bill, were he to become the 'First Philanderer' in the White House, would exert a very negative influence on our nation’s affairs.

So now Trump is ‘in’, lots of people are excited, the economy appears to be bullish again, and lots of people are excited about their future.

But….

Let’s look at the animals we see in Trump’s ‘swamp’. I’ll admit I haven’t been closely following Trump’s picks these short few weeks that he’s been interviewing and picking people for his staff, Cabinet, and various government positions but I did do some homework on the subject.

First of all..… this article that I just read makes a good point: one could be reasonably suspicious of at least some, if not all, of the people Trump has tagged for his team so far. Let's look:

How about his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. As that Wikipedia link mentions, Mr. Mnuchin was a former partner at Goldman Sachs.

But wait a minute!

Isn’t Goldman Sachs that outfit that we blame for a lot of the nefarious financial crap that has been going on in our economy? And isn’t it true that Mr. Mnuchin is also very close friends with that other fellow, the confirmed Nazi collaborator in WW2, who totally looks like Death Warmed Over….George Soros?

Yeah…that’s the guy!

So, if modus operandi is any clue, aren’t we seeing the same modus operandi here that Goldman Sachs (and the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers) are famous for….i.e. seeding the deck with their own loyalists and alumni?

Trump will argue of course that these are the people he needs to ‘drain the swamp’ properly because they know where all the leaks are and how to row the boat around in the murky water of Washington D.C. without hitting a submerged stump.

Well….maybe. We’ll just have to wait and see.

And what’s Gary Cohn, President of Goldman Sachs, doing as the newly anticipated Director of the National Economic Council?

Nobody else, not a real outsider, was available for that job?

And then there’s Steve Bannon. Mr. Bannon also is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker alumni although not at the same high level as some of Trump’s other appointments.

In his favor, Mr. Bannon has a host of ‘rightist’ activities and is clearly very anti-globalist. And if nothing else, his resume shows him to have been a thorn in the side of many liberals and very much anti Obama and Hillary.

Other appointments to Trump’s team include:

Billionaire businessman Elon Musk who joins the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a group that advises the President-elect on economic matters. Musk joins other business leaders such as former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon, and JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

Note: Take a look at Jamie Dimon’s background and then try to tell yourself that he’s the kind of guy who would want to ‘drain the swamp’.

Also joining Trump’s Forum is Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon and I will admit that I’m not a big fan of many of the things I’ve heard about Wal-Mart in recent years. They are a major, MAJOR factor in keeping lots of Communist Chinese factories going.

Non-fans of Walmart include factors such as cited here and here.

These new Trump team members may or may not be patriots but my point is that they are tainted. Draining the swamp and refilling it with the same breed of alligators isn’t what the American public really expected.

And when you consider that Trump roundly criticized Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, because of her former ties with Goldman Sachs and that both Elon Musk and General Electric have benefited greatly from government money over the years, one could be excused from thinking that it looks like, “business as usual in Washington.”

Tesla, when you factor in Musks’ SpaceX and SolarCity companies, have received approximately $5 billion in government subsidies (frequently in the form of tax rebates) over the years and the company probably would not have survived without them. And GE has long been a company in favor with with POTUS office holders.

Does that sound like free enterprise?

When is it cronyism and when is it not?

I’m not concluding that these appointments are unequivocally unreasonable. I remember specifically that US industrial leaders have long complained that their companies are at an international competitive disadvantage against companies headquartered in certain foreign countries who get massive support from their home governments. Case in point would be the difficulty American aircraft manufacturers (e.g. Boeing) have long had in bidding wars (for aircraft purchases from US airlines) with France’s Airbus.

Trump has picked Wilber Ross to be his Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Ross is a billionaire investor and a committed protectionist on trade who also happens to have large holdings in steel and textile manufacturing. It’s probably just coincidence that both these industries will benefit fom Trump’s protectionist trade policies.

But like I said, foreign companies have had the US at a disadvantage for many years so maybe this is international economic poetic justice.

So…we’ll just have to wait and see what these guys do.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
Case Studies, eMail Copywriting, and Blogging
eMail Me Here

 

Me Here

The Pervert – Bad Company Publicity

 

The Pervert – Bad Company Publicity

I’ve actually been wanting to write another article for a few days now. I have a few ideas lined up on the subject of cryptocurrency but I’ve written several of those lately and I just couldn’t find the motivation to write another one. Not right now anyway.

But then tonight I saw an article in The Daily Sheeple which I thought I could milk for multiple purposes, such as:

  1. It was a chance to get back to something a bit lighter in subject material than what I’ve been writing about lately.

  2. It’s got a bit of dark humor or poetic justice in it….the type that George Carlin probably would have appreciated.

  3. It’s a chance to make a point in my “How To Write” group in Markethive.

  4. And last but not least, in these days when “MAGA(Make America Great Again) is on everybody's mind…it makes a good point about something that still works rather well in our American justice system.

You can read the article for yourself but I’ll just summarize:

A guy in Ohio, by most outward appearances fairly normal, was going to shopping malls, parking in the mall parking lot, masturbating, filling up a syringe with his semen, and then going into the mall and squirting women with the syringes .

Sounds like something any red-blooded Tom Sawyer type would do, right?

He actually had been doing this for two months, approximately twelve times, before he finally got caught. And that was because somebody finally remembered his company truck.

Yeah…he was using the company truck. After he was caught, he said he got the idea off the internet. And I like the way the article’s original author put it:

“I mean, other people go to Pinterest and get ideas to build shelves out of repurposed wood or something… but this guy… wha???”

This is a guy who seemed to have a pretty normal life but he sorta reminds me of Herbert Philbrick.

Herbert was real person who went undercover in the 1940’s to penetrate the US Communist Party for the FBI. Probably nobody who reads this will remember the black and white TV program based on his life. It was called, “I Lead Three Lives”.

But this guy really had his alter identity going. He was actually on his way to have dinner with his wife when they caught him. The author cracks another funny-ha-ha when he writes:

He was also on the way to have dinner with his wife. (You can only imagine what that phone call was like… “Uh, hi honey, sorry I’m gonna be late for dinner… I’ve been arrested… um…”)

The article doesn’t specify precisely when this event happened or whether the guy has been sent to prison yet. But I would think that’s a surety, wouldn’t you?). But it does close is a way that George Carlin would appreciate:

Can you imagine that first conversation Blake’s gonna have in prison?“What are you in for?”

So, in summary….. You can see that this article pretty well covers points #1 and #2, right?

Point #3 is covered by what I consider to be the article’s very good title and subtitle. I love it. Look at it yourself….here.

And for Point #4 (which I thought of myself)…this guy (Blake) is probably going to find out how ‘smoothly’ American justice really works…his first day in prison.

Make America Great Again!
 

Art Williams
Freelance Writer
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
eMail Me here

 

 

 

 

 

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