-1American Program Bureau and Premiere Speakers Bureau are agencies that markets notable speakers. Spokespeople include former world leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev and Jimmy Carter, as well as many celebrities and "inspiring people."

It's amazing. One can shop for speakers, select categories, and drop a bundle of celebrity speakers into your shopping cart, as if one were buying CDs at Amazon. Many of the speakers are noted activists that are praised for donating their time to "speak out on social issues." Please, they're mercenaries, and I can buy them to speak at my birthday party to prove it. As long as they aren't booked with something else, they're free to book. And most of the really big names are too busy to be booked right now.

You know, I've heard it said many times than any activist going on a speaking tour is trying to sell a book, a movie, a television show, radio program, or maybe even just keep a syndicated column relevant. Yet, we've always assumed that the speaking tours, while promotional for those products, weren't themselves commodities to be sold. One would think a, Ralph Nader, for example, would at least pretend their crusading wasn't a for profit venture.

Boy, have I not been skeptical enough! These people don't donate any time for their pet causes, they are hired guns, living breathing advertisements, for various fundraising organizations. But if I leave it at that, I'm missing the scale of the scam! These people initially create the concern over many causes in the first place!

In the tradition of P.T. Barnum, they've had the public fooled for a very long time. Many still swoon over the generosity of Hollywood, how they give so much back, that ordinary people are inspired to buy seats at these speaking events, donate to put an end to ManBearPig's menace, and really donate some of our time to putting an end to it. It doesn't matter that we've actually consumed GM food for years without an illnesses, or that evil blue building hasn't picked our pockets or broken our legs, they care, and the time they put into speaking out proves it!

Many are just motivational speakers, the live performance of a self-help book. With other speakers, it's really just a dressed up comedy show. Dave Barry's topics are purely comical, and maybe the others aren't as harmful as I believe.

Maybe it doesn't matter to the true believers listening to the speakers on the lecture circuits. The speakers make these people feel what they need to. It's a religious experience. I ponder if this is the core reason why Hollywood spends so much time disparaging evangelists. They are the most direct competition, and attending a church is still completely free, as well has held locally every Sunday.

Perhaps, but these speakers haven't exactly been transparent about their speaking arrangements, and as long as many of them call themselves social activists, and have publicists that fawn over their philanthropic pursuits, I feel strongly that there's fraud going on here, and as long as their speaking arrangements affect public (government) policy, it's a fraud that harms even those of us savvy enough to see it.