By Anne Landman on January 30, 2009

Rick BermanWashington, D.C. lobbying scourge Richard B. "Rick" Berman is facing steadily increasing pushback these days, and some of it is coming from a surprising source -- his own son, musician David Berman.

Berman has long been the front man through which corporations have aggressively attacked their opponents without leaving fingerprints. Known to his own friends and enemies alike as "Dr. Evil," Berman has perfected the art of setting up non-profit "charitable" groups to advance corporate interests. The groups have deceptively helpful-sounding names, like "Guest Choice Network," the "Employment Policies Institute" or the "Center for Consumer Freedom," but really serve as well-funded attack dogs for the tobacco, alcohol, chain restaurant, tanning and other industries. The groups' non-profit status makes their funding hard to trace, which has permitted Berman to operate in the shadows for decades while pocketing millions from unpopular industries for his work thwarting public interest legislation.

Pushback against underhanded lobbying tactics

Berman depends on secrecy to cloak his operations, but recently the Congressional watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) unveiled a hard-hitting new Web site, www.BermanExposed.org, which unmasks Berman's front groups, tactics, employees and projects. (Berman succeeded in knocking this website offline on January 29 but it was back up by February 1.) CREW's Web site outs Berman's "charitable" groups as the lobbying tools they are, and describes how he uses them to run attack ads and implement other tactics to fight Mothers Against Drunk Driving, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other public interest groups' efforts to raise awareness of obesity, secondhand smoke, drunk driving, mad cow disease, and other causes. CREW even posted a photo of the $3.3 million house Berman purchased with money he has earned from his dirty lobbying tactics.

Another Blow Hits Closer to Home

CREW's new site was a resounding strike at Berman, but it might have inadvertently catalyzed yet another blow that hits even closer to home.

Rick Berman's son, singer-songwriter David BermanRick Berman's son, David Berman, is a 42-year-old singer-songwriter who, since 1989, has been the front singer for a popular New York City indie rock band called the "Silver Jews." Over the years, the Jews have developed a loyal following, but on January 22, 2009 David Berman stunned his fans by posting a note to an online message board announcing that after all these years he was leaving the Silver Jews. The reason? His father, Rick Berman.

In scathing language, David disclosed to his fans who his father is, and how leaving the band related to his father's work. David wrote,

Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:

My father.

You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons. My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.

An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical mother******* son of a bitch. (sorry grandma).

You can read about him here:

www.bermanexposed.org

... A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.

He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We've been "estranged" for over three years.

Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.

He is a union buster.

When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).

I went off to hide in art and academia.

I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the meantime my Dad started a very very bad company called Berman and Company.

He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.

He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.

His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.

He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!

The worst part for me as a writer is what he does with the English language.

Though vicious he is a doltish thinker, and his spurious editorials rely on doublethink and always with the Lashon Hara.

As I studied Judaism over the years, the shame and the shanda, grew almost too much. My heart was constantly on fire for justice. I could find no relief.

This winter I decided that the SJs [Silver Jews] were too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know.

Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you.

I've always hid this terrible shame from you, the fan. The SJs have always stood autonomous and clear.

Hopefully it won't contaminate your feelings about the work ... In a way I am the son of a demon come to make good the damage.

Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.

But there is the matter of Justice.

And I'll tell you it's not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.

It hurts.

There needs to be something more. I'll see what that might be.

DCB

Ouch.

David's powerful note provides insight into the tortured feelings David has endured as the son of the Lobbyist from Hell. We well agree that Rick Berman is guilty of shamefully obstructing public health and working to crush those who care about public welfare, clean air, the environment, animal rights and other causes. For any normal father, this public note would be excruciatingly painful. For all we know, it might be for Rick Berman, too. But will the pain of this note be enough to change him?

We hope David's public expression of his feelings about his father's work will make Rick Berman think about what he is doing to society, if not his family. If it isn't, well then David, we are on your side and are willing to help you in any way we can.

Comments

David, we are here for you and Cassie, and applaud the efforts. You are a kind soul just as Judaism teaches. Your drug is the truth a different drug for your father, it is called ego. We love you and are thinking of you. I cant think of a better legacy to leave this world than to try to make a better life for those you love. You are a good person and I am very grateful and blessed to know you and your mother and sister. Love always LuAnn & Dave

I salute David Berman's stand for truth and justice. I hope that this is the beginning of something great & noble in his life. I also hope that many others may be inspired by his example, as I am.

I know the truth in some of the subjects, that David is ignorant about but still holds dear, because it is in opposition of his father's stance on those subjects. Speaking for myself, it detracts from David's position when he has not researched the subjects that he is against.

I too applaud David's stand. I too, unfortunately, have family involved in Mr. Berman's activities and it shames me as well.

We do what we feel is right. If it means estranging ourselves from those who espouse this kind of crap, family or not, then so be it.

Good luck in the future, David.

Sorry David Berman.

But my name is David Berman too. No kidding. And I have a son named Rick Berman. And as unimportant as that is, I am very concerned how unsuspecting “consumers” just buy whatever drivel they are fed by the media.

The proof of this is easy to find. When you have studied a subject deeply - and know it well - do you usually agree with a five word headline the media reports on this subject? If you’re honest, you know the answer is no. The popular media has neither the time, nor the need, nor any desire to find the truth. Just a headline for today to make some noise and grab some ratings. Tomorrow is a new day.

Everything at one time or another is either good for you or bad for, depending on the day of the week. Everyone loves to make a champ a chump – we love to watch the rich and famous fall on their faces. It’s great for ratings and takes our minds off the real problems we should be concentrating on.

The untold tragedy of people acting on incorrect science or purported truths is immense. Greater than the purported “evil” forces behind the PR firms. But isn’t our democracy based on equal rights? Aren’t we allowed to present all sides and options? Why should we let the media pick for us what science or purported truth is to be believed?

Until such time as we are taught not to believe whatever we see on TV and to think for ourselves and seek out the truth we need more people to take the opposite side. Regardless how ridiculous such an opposing view may seem. It is precisely this debate that ensures that the truth actually gets into the light. Otherwise, it will be left to the “good government folks” whose only interest is staying in power, to tell us what to think, what to do and what laws to follow.

Nonsense. God bless Richard Berman.

And as for his son David, he grew up and did what he wanted to do. He followed his own dream. Why does he think his father should not have the same right?

Here's the thing: truth is not a competition.

And that is what Richard Berman's work is about. Outcompeting truth. It doesn't matter what is true, what matters is what most people believe. And Richard Berman makes a lot of money propping up others who make a lot of money from people who 1) don't care what the truth is because they're ignorant of it yet, and 2) don't care what the truth is if their truth is keeping them comfortable, and 3) need to subscribe to "free speech" and ideology, because, after all, truth is a marketplace that depends only how many people believe something.

Somewhere in American history someone confused many values that are older than time and subordinated them to a very foggy concept of "freedom," branded it as American and anything else as un-American, and thus linked it to a machine that subsequently only works to enslave almost everybody. One might as well throw oneself against the gears and the levers. Richard Berman just wants to operate them.

Amazingly poignant

The Lord's name in the same sentence with Richard Berman?!?!

Not sure who you are, but I agree with you "We all should follow our dreams" unless, of course those dreams are to inflict harm on others. Rick Berman as created the largest web of deceit and greed I have ever heard of. He makes a lot of money in this scam. All of it in the name of a non-profit group, currently named, Center for Consumer Freedom.

Please, tell me..
How does what Rick Berman do that provides freedom to consumers?
From my viewpoint, Rick Berman creates mis-information about a products or organization, adds a believable spin and then promotes the hell out of it. His reason for existence is to protect wealthy organizations with less than good intentions stay in business. The only thing I can say in his favor is he is very shrewd. When he goes to hell, he will quickly find a way to out Satan so he can rule.

I'm anti Rick Berman, but you pretty much ruin your credibility with the term "public interest organization." My local MADD chapter laudes trigger-happy cops (google "MADD mansker).

David, did you pay your way through school? If you didn't you are a hypocrite.

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