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Fri May 31, 2013, 03:51 PM

Cecil Adams (The Straight Dope) had a good column today on Secret Societies:

"Dear Cecil: The Straight Dope columns I find particularly interesting are the ones about secret societies: the Illuminati, the Bilderbergs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Masons, etc. I'm not sure whether I should beat 'em, join 'em, or continue to relegate them to the land of paranoid delusions. Can you give me the Straight Dope?"

"You’re missing the big picture, John. Sure, I could riff on the Illuminati, Skull and Bones, or the League of Hyrax — or I could tell you about the more insidious secretive societies that hide in plain sight. These organizations are far more dangerous than a bunch of balding ex-frat brothers sitting around naked in the woods plotting world domination. They work right out in the open, knowing the average person can’t fathom how deep the swamp really is."

SNIP

"Finally, the most insidious secretive society of all — lobbyists. They don’t work for the government; typically they’re former government employees who put their insiders’ contacts and knowledge at the service of whatever private interest is willing to pay their steep rates. How steep? For a crude idea, divide the estimated $3.3 billion 2012 lobbying tab by the 12,400 known lobbyists, for an average of $266,000 per lobbyist. Acquiring votes ain’t cheap.

Who pays that kind of money? The National Rifle Association at $3 million is a piker compared to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, number one at $136 million. The rest of the top five might seem noncontroversial — the National Association of Realtors, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, General Electric, and the American Hospital Association. But think: what businesses are these people are in?"

Whole column at:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3108/do-secret-societies-control-everything

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