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You gotta hand it to them.  They know how to choose an audience.  

With the hilarious recent exceptions of medical marijuana and Al Jazeera, most of right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh's current stable of advertisers that have sprung up since thousands of more legitimate companies have bolted the controversial show carefully target weaknesses in the lives of Limbaugh's average listener:  aging white Tea Party males who have trouble getting a woody and aren't very careful with their Social Security checks.

But now Rush Limbaugh is also providing a platform to a company that preys on people who are suffering from anxiety and depression--not coincidentally common side effects of listening to Limbaugh spout hysterical lies about our nation being taken over by brown people and The Gays.

The Midwest Center for Stress & Anxiety, co-founded by Lucinda Bassett, bills itself as the nation's foremost provider of care for people dealing with such challenges:

"No organization in the world has done more in educational outreach, hope & help for the estimated 60-million Americans struggling with debilitating stress, anxiety and depression."

The Center's primary method of your lives is these audio cds :

The program promises that listening to the cds will enable users to "challenge established thought patterns and replace negative patternssuch [sic] as chronic worry or irrational fear with more realistic and positive ones."

But many who have reached out to the Midwest Center for help dealing with debilitating depression have instead found it to be a little more than a sleazy theft operation.  Googling "Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety" scam yields more than 6,000 results.

Unhappy ex-customers reveal a rapacious business model which includes overcharging customers for things they didn't order:

"They start ripping you off immediately with the inflated shipping charge and then start removing your money 30 days from the ORDER DATE which typically is 10-14 days BEFORE the 30 day trial period STARTS. By the time the '30 day trial' is over they have already taken the first FULL payment of $75.00 (+ tax) by 2 WEEKS, even when you decide you don't want to buy this craprogram. One of Lucy's top-secret cures is to 'Drink 8 glasses of water everyday' and 'quit smoking and drinking' DUH!! Gee for such wisdom it only costs 450 bucks!"

Referring to the business as the "Midwest Center for Fraud and Bullshit," one reviewer spoke of repeated unauthorized credit card charges and being blocked at attempts to cancel, concluding

"So, the program to attack anxiety and depression simply made those things rage within me even worse than before."

Another program veteran echoed frustration with how hard it is to get out once you are in and exposed the disgraceful lengths the company goes to when trying to convince customers not to cut off the money flow:

"They said you will be calling us in ten years begging for help. I said I have a therapist and psychologist who specialize in PTSD. They said  you will never make it and get help. You are going to be miserable for the rest of your life."
Lucinda Bassett
Bassett herself knows a thing or two about depression.  Her husband and business partner David Bassett killed himself with a shotgun in 2008 not far from their Malibu mansion.  But even after this tragic event she found a way to turn sorrow into dollars by publishing a book to "help others who have been through suicide and extreme loss."

One account of the suicide aftermath says that Bassett's "spiraling feelings of grief, devastating loss and unbearable guilt were magnified by her belief that David’s suicide could have been prevented if he had been prescribed the right medication."

But in a striking bit of irony, some people who discussed their experiences with Bassett's program said its "med free" approach is what drew them.  The Midwest Center works to convince people who have a serious problem that the solution to their misery is "cognitive, rather than pharmaceutical."  

Perhaps they'd be better off leaving the solution to those whose primary concern is "doing no harm" rather than scavenging our most vulnerable like vultures.

hat tip to MG for research

If you'd like to help StopRush, please read on after the break.

Decent folks who believe in tolerance and equality are no longer powerless against Limbaugh's efforts to spread intolerance on the radio.  StopRush is making a major impact by convincing advertisers on this show to withdraw their ads--and with your help we can do even more.  Just a few emails, tweets, or Facebook messages a week to Limbaugh's advertisers can go a long way toward making hatred less profitable.  It is our collective voice that makes us strong.  

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