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Tea Parties And Astroturf

Ever since it started, the left has obsessed that the Tea Party Movement is "astroturfed." That is, it's a fake grassroots movement -- it's actually centrally organized and covertly funded by big-money interests, who are using the stooges who actually show up for their own nefarious ends.

Well, it turns out they were right -- it is all one big "astroturfed" scam. And here's the proof -- ads offering people jobs (good money, with benefits and everything!) for engaging in "political activism."
(Hat tip to YourDaddy.)

Whoops, my bad -- I misread the ad. They aren't paying people to attend Tea Party events -- they're paying them to oppose the Tea Party.

I have to admit, I never really took too seriously the "astroturf" charges against the Tea Party. The thing about money in politics -- it tends to show. If the Tea Party movement was the product of big bucks, you'd see some signs of the spending.

For example, look at the protests in Madison. There's real money there. The protesters are largely arriving by bus, from unions all over the country. A lot of them have their identifying T-Shirts and professionally-printed signs. And it's taking place during the work week. That all takes money.

The Tea Party events? Usually on weekends, and never more than a few hours on a single day. No "dress code," everyone wears what they want -- including some home-made T-Shirts. Everyone has their own unique, home-made sign. There will be the occasional bus to the event, but it's usually chartered by a local talk radio station as a promotional stunt -- and they might even sell tickets for the ride, so they might even turn a slight profit.

Once again, we see that the real pros -- in several senses of that word -- in politics here are on the left. As is the real money. Those of us on the right? We're not in it to improve our bottom line, but to protect it.

That's why the left just can't get the Tea Party movement. That's why they keep insisting that it's "astroturfed" and "a scam" -- because that's their only reference point. They can't imagine people getting as involved and passionate about the issues without somehow being paid for it -- because that's how they operate, and they can't imagine anything different.It's projection writ large.

In this case, t's in their very name. "Grassroots Campaigns,Incorporated." Think about that -- a corporation whose sole purpose is to put together "grassroots campaigns?"  The very definition of "grassroots" means it builds from the bottom up -- not organized from the top down. Their whole reason for being is the political definition of "astroturf."

But they don't see the paradox. They are incapable of recognizing it, and don't see absolutely anything wrong with it. One would sooner expect a halibut to describe a cactus.

But it makes me wonder how some inventive Tea Party types could somehow infiltrate groups like this and monkeywrench their operations... or, at least, if confronted with them, badger them about just how they're getting paid to solicit, and how much of the "donations" they get to keep as commissions...

It's at least a little comforting that, according to YourDaddy, there's some serious evidence that it's a scam, and the "activists" end up getting ripped off by Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. Here's hoping that they learn the right lesson -- don't trust the professional left -- and not end up with a general cynicism about politics in general.

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Comments (36)

It's the typical leftist op... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

It's the typical leftist operating standard. Heavy in administrative costs and light in productivity and creativity. Top down in the manner of; stand over here, hold this sign, say these things. It ties in with the belief that people need to be managed, controlled and in the long run, not be responsible for the results.

"It's projection writ large... (Below threshold)

"It's projection writ large."

LOL. Exactly. The other thing is that the left has its own squad of professional protesters. Go to any city and visit a string of left wing protests (end the death penalty, no more war, etc.) and you will see the same people at every protest, every time. I think it really freaks out liberals when they see ordinary citizens who have never attended a protest in their lives, show up for Tea Party rallies.

Well, that's the way collec... (Below threshold)
alanstorm:

Well, that's the way collectivists think. Hard to give credence to individual action when it's beyond your conception.

Of course they think it's a... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Of course they think it's astroturf. It is what they would do, so they leap to the assumption

The left continually judges... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

The left continually judges things by their standards. If hiring and busing protestors is the way they do it then they just naturally ass-ume that is the way it is done on the right. If they get funding from some orgainzation they ass-ume we do to. If they say tea partiers are using Nazi signs it is only bacause that is what they would do. If they say someone spit on a congresscritter it is because that is what they would do. If they say we are racists, that is because thats the way they are. They cannot grasp that we pay our own way and take our own time to go to our rallies because we actually Beiieve in Our Cause.

That the left do not clean ... (Below threshold)
914:

That the left do not clean up after themselves, says a lot about their work ethics. It is beneath them to look beyond self to what is best for all.

Can you see Sheila Jackson picking up her pork rind bags and diet mountain dew bottles? I can't either.

It ties in with the beli... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

It ties in with the belief that people need to be managed, controlled and in the long run, not be responsible for the results.


Name one Leftard who comments here that is capable of handling anyhing without someone else telling them what to do or say and how to think or better yet name one is capable of rational thought.

Last year there was a study... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Last year there was a study out of the UK that claimed that liberal individuals had more difficulty putting themselves in other people's shoes and understanding other points of view. Liberals could not articulate fairly and accurately other points of view. Moderates and conservatives did not show the same problems.

The point is that the left cannot understand that you can have a protest without paying or otherwise coercing people to come. You cannot have a protest where people do not shout obscenities, racist epithets and make violent threats. They don't see that the TEA party can do that because they are incapable of understanding the mind of anyone who thinks differently from them.

In a very real sense their accusations that the TEA Party is astroturfed or that the people are all racists is projection. It is the only thing that they are capable of understanding. It is the only thing they are capable of doing themselves.

Name one Leftard who com... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Name one Leftard who comments here that is capable of handling anyhing without someone else telling them what to do or say and how to think or better yet name one is capable of rational thought.

Bruce Henry, and Hyper.

They've come to their conclusions for what seem to them logical, rational reasons. That we don't agree with them on some subjects at times doesn't mean they're not capable of rational thought.

Hell, even the late LW was capable of it - until his ideological blinders kicked it. He was dead set against Obama, thinking Hillary was the much better candidate. As such he wrote in support of Hillary quite a bit, and called out Obama for a lot of the same things we're complaining about now (lack of experience, judgement and so forth) - until Hillary got kicked to the curb and Obama was the big new thing, at which point the ideology kicked in and Obama could do no wrong at all.

It was... enlightening... to see. How do you flip a switch in your brain like that, and suddenly find that the candidate you were revilling last week is now the best thing since sliced bread?

I've never seen Henry or Hy... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

I've never seen Henry or Hyper display any logical or rational reasons for their beliefs. I have seen them display alot of feelings befrit of logic or reason.
They disagree with people they don't like, simply becasue they don't like them for political reasons.
Its all about power to them, they see their power slipping away and they lash out ...


"I've never seen Henry o... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"I've never seen Henry or Hyper display any logical or rational reasons for their beliefs. I have seen them display alot of feelings befrit of logic or reason."

As I said... They've come to their conclusions for what seem to them logical, rational reasons.

That we don't see their reasoning as such doesn't mean they didn't go "With conditions A, B, and C, I've decided I believe that process X with a result D is what would be best to alleviate those conditions, and will do what I think right and proper to bring such results about."

Both can be pretty annoying at times, I'll grant you. But they're not stupid either, and (I believe) will change their minds when there's sufficient evidence that they're wrong. Indoctrination only goes so far, after all - but when it snaps it's going to hurt.

That Bruce and Hyper have been getting more angry on line makes me think they understand very well deep down that what they believe isn't workable - they're just not willing to admit it to themselves yet. They do see the power slipping away, they see their representatives unable to cope with reality as opposed to their imaginations about what being in power would entail - it's understandable they're lashing out.

It's not changing things, though.

One of the side effects of ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

One of the side effects of spending a lot of time goofing around on the Internet is that you see memes and propaganda spreading in something like real time.

Whenever I see an organized pro-Left argument here, it's because it's been bouncing around on various left-wing sites for a day or more, and usually hit one of the major sites like HuffPo. Mostly, they're either direct quotes or thinly-disguised edits of the original story (which is usually a press release by a very biased group or a blog post by a "fellow traveler").

I forget - have we seen the "pay teachers $5 per student per hour so they can look like they're worth $135,000 per year" bit here yet? Someone wrote what they thought was a good defense of union pay, on the theory that teachers are merely babysitters, and should get paid that much because they sit in a room with 25 students (making $125 per hour for the babysitting, not for teaching). This popped up on a whole bunch of sites within about a day, and a LOT of lefties bought into it right off, with zero thought as to whether it made sense or not.

I forget - have we seen ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

I forget - have we seen the "pay teachers $5 per student per hour so they can look like they're worth $135,000 per year" bit here yet?

Not yet. Oddly enough, I've got no problems with a 'pay for performance' plan for teachers. (Why not? We already do so!) But that'd come with some pretty hefty performance benchmarks to meet. Also, I'd want to take out a lot of the restrictions that the public sector teachers have to live under re student discipline and such... But anyway...

I think 'the evil Superrich' is the next meme that'll hit hard, it being around tax time and all... Hyper's tried it out, I don't think it's going to stick.

Really? You don't think une... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Really? You don't think unemployed Americans, many of whom have lost or are going to lose their homes, might take umbrage to billionaires whining for lower taxes at a time like this?

If the Tea Party movemen... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

If the Tea Party movement was the product of big bucks, you'd see some signs of the spending.

Like billionare Rupert Murdoch using Fox News to promote the Tea Party. Or billionare Koch brothers investing millions to the Tea Party.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/13/tea-party-billionaire-koch-brothers

Murdoch and the Koch bros. ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Murdoch and the Koch bros. are exercising freedom of speech, whereas unions are in league with George Soros and other billionaires with the intention of DESTROYING AMERICA.

It would be funnier if their argument wasn't actually that simplistic and inconsistent.

When the unions' web sites ... (Below threshold)

When the unions' web sites start getting taken down by "anonymous" hackers, hyper, get back to us.

And how's that "jobs saved or created" with all those billions going? There's no guarantee that the rich will actually use their tax breaks to improve the economy by hiring or other job-creating activities... but there's far better odds of that than the federal government doing something productive with it. (High-speed trains, anyone?)

Plus, tax cuts boil down to "we'll let you keep more of your own money," and I personally have no problems with letting people keep their own money. Unlike, say, Michael Moore, who has declared that wealth above a certain level has no business being in private hands, should be treated as a national resource, and confiscated "for the common good."

Bet he's another big hero of yours, too, hype.

J.

Bullwinkle,<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Bullwinkle,

Name one Leftard who comments here that is capable of handling anyhing without someone else telling them what to do or say and how to think or better yet name one is capable of rational thought.

I'll say Tina S comes the closest to this. If you look at some of the conversations with her, she has actually listened to and considered other viewpoints at times.

hypergirlie, on the other hand, is nothing but a troll, who should be put up against the wall and shot.

hyperbolist, wow, you know ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

hyperbolist, wow, you know Ronald Reagan was the president of a union (Screen Actor's Guild). Are you saying that Ronald Reagan was intent on destroying America?

Tina, Reagan was a presiden... (Below threshold)

Tina, Reagan was a president of a different kind of union in a far different time. He was also, I believe, at that time a registered and very proud Democrat.

J.

hyperbolist, Sarah Palin de... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

hyperbolist, Sarah Palin described Todd as a "proud member of the United Steel Workers' Union". Does that mean the Palins are intent on destroying America?

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/text-of-palin-speech

Reagan was a president o... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Reagan was a president of a different kind of union in a far different time.

Different in what way?

Unions: collective bargaini... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Unions: collective bargaining entities that represent individual workers as a whole.

Koch Industries: a privately owned conglomerate that benefits a privileged few, at the expense of so, so many. They have spent so much money lobbying for environmental deregulation and the dismantlement of an already piss-poor social safety net, and the only people who would benefit are captains of industry and the upper class. So no, I have no problem with a bunch of nerdy Robin Hoods trying to disrupt their efforts at ruining your country.

Go back through your archives and find me saying one nice thing about Michael Moore, Jay. If I'm going to ridicule people like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and anyone who works at the NRO or Weekly Standard for being lying hacks, then I've got no right to take Moore seriously.

I've said this countless times: there are very, very rich people in Sweden, including--according to some accounts--the richest human being on the planet. (The owner of Ikea does not disclose his personal finances, and sued a newspaper for reporting that he has more money than Bill Gates.) That man pays something like 60% income tax, on top of high sales taxes. Also, there aren't any illiterate or starving children in Sweden.

High taxes are not an obstacle to success. They're an obstacle to excess, but clearly not an insurmountable one.

France has tons of rich people; as does Japan; as does Canada; as does Britain...

The problem with your country's economy is not unions, nor is it spending. It's unemployment: money is not trickling down, despite there being more money than ever in the bank accounts of those from whose pockets it was meant to trickle.

Wow, that looks like fun. I... (Below threshold)

Wow, that looks like fun. I wanna try it:

Public sector unions: organizations of public employees that funnel their union dues back into the pockets of amenable politicians, almost 100% Democrats, in exchange for greater pay and benefits, all provided by the voters whose will (as expressed in last November's elections in Wisconsin, for one example) they routinely subvert and ignore.

Koch Industries: a privately-held corporation that provides very good paying jobs for over 80,000 people, and issued bonds worth over $5 million that are currently held by the Wisconsin Public Worker Retirement Pension Fund. Koch Industries is privately held, with the majority by two brothers -- who gave $20 million to the ACLU to fight the Patriot Act, and have also given money towards drug legalization, gay marriage, and several other progressive social causes.

J.

Does it bother you when oil... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Does it bother you when oil and defense companies lobby Republican congresspeople in exactly the same way, except to the benefit of a much smaller and well-off group, while being way less transparent about it than unions?

And yes, I know: trial lawyers, and Democrats. Them too. Rich people in general, I guess.

Check this out: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

I already showed JLawson and he shrugged it off as it's in a left-leaning publication, but it's a bunch of facts laid out. Interpret as you will. As unions have become less powerful, the middle class has been hammered. Unions don't only drive up wages for themselves: when unions force management to pay them better and improve their working conditions, these changes happen across the board.

I don't know what the Koch bros.' positions on marijuana and same-sex marriage have to do with this issue.

Unions do have too much inf... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Unions do have too much influence over politicians. The biggest threat to our nation is not democrat or republican ideals. It is corruption in which the politically connected and large donors gain too much influence over politicans.

The Wisconsin Bill against unions also contains a provision that allows for the sale of power plants without competitive bidding! A gift for the Koch Brothers perhaps? Can anyone think of a reason why it is not in the states best interest to get competivie bids?

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).
Whole volumes could be writ... (Below threshold)

Whole volumes could be written, hyper, about things that you know very little about but spout off anyway.

Let's talk about how wonderfully helpful unions are to companies. It was the UAW whose demands drove GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy -- and then the Obama regime bypassed bankruptcy laws and screwed over the bond holders to, in essence, give the two automakers to the union.

That's the same UAW that can't seem to get a toehold in foreign-owned plants in the US -- plants that routinely outperform the UAW-occupied plants in every metric of productivity or profitability.

Ford escaped that fate because it didn't let itself get taken in by the Obama administration, and actually stood up to the unions.

Yeah, having a union -- especially one like the UAW -- does wonders for a company.

I work for a Very Big company, and the unions would LOVE to get access to me. They can go to hell, as far as I'm concerned. Things ain't great for me, but I am quite comfortable knowing that a union would only make things worse for most of us.

J.

Poor tina is scarred by her... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Poor tina is scarred by her daddy. Remember him: pitiful left wing scientist, scared to speak up in academia because those dang right wingers jeopardized his job (everyone just knows right wingers control the college campus). Little tina is still stuck on stupid, but she is a true believer. By birth.

JL, to her it's rational.

Tina,As usual, the... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Tina,

As usual, there is more to the story:

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency began an investigation to determine whether plants at UW campuses and prisons were in violation of the Clean Air Act. In addition, air pollution standards being implemented by the EPA are expected to result in older coal-fired power plants' needing to add pollution controls or switch to cleaner-burning natural gas.

"The state knows darn well that it has got compliance issues with these aging coal plants, and so the violations are going to have to be corrected," said Jennifer Feyerherm of the Sierra Club in Madison. "How the governor thinks he can put lipstick on that pig and sell huge financial and environmental liabilities to someone else, good luck. Bottom line, those plants need to be cleaned up."

Hmmmm.... maybe getting out from under expensive retrofitting requirements is a valid reason for selling them, and if there is a possibility that they have little to no value and only one bidder anyway, that would save the costs of the bidding process.

As a matter of principle, I object to no bid contracts, i would not support that provision.

More articles about this can be found at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin newspaper, the quote is from this article: http://www.jsonline.com/business/116204654.html


But please note that the language you quote is the original language submitted by Gov Walker, One of the senates finance panels has already modified it, requiring cost-benefit analysis to be done and submitted to the senate for review.

High taxes are not... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
High taxes are not an obstacle to success. They're an obstacle to excess, but clearly not an insurmountable one.


I find it funny we tax things in order to limit their use. Yet at the same time we Tax people income and expect that they will be happy with it.

It has been proven time after time if you lower taxes revenue increases. Higher taxes revenues decreases.

When NJ was talking about raising Taxes they said that business would not leave the state because all of all the talent in the Tristate area. Well he raised it and companies started moving out of state. They shipped workers to other states.
This policy has lead to wealth leaving the state. It reduced opportunities.

For a long time many Americans were basically apathetic no matter who was in office things stayed reality the same. We had heard how BAD things were for the other guy. Then we two years of BHO and it was no longer the other guy it was you. This is when people say HOLD ON. This is why Tea party movement started.

I already showed JLawso... (Below threshold)
Jlawson:

I already showed JLawson and he shrugged it off as it's in a left-leaning publication, but it's a bunch of facts laid out. Interpret as you will.

And I interpret THEIR interpretation to be class-warfare garbage, Hyper. They define 'superrich' as the top 10%, which starts at $167k/year.

Let's say Spouse A makes $90k. Spouse B makes $80k. They're comfortable - not overextended on their houses, a bit of money in the bank. Kids out of college and on their own.

They've been working their way up in their jobs for about 25 years now - which is why they're making what they're making.

The class-warfare clowns at MJ see them as 'superrich'.

You know, you always struck me as being too smart to fall for that sort of crap. But maybe you believe it - that there's got to be some sort of 'class warfare' going on because it's 'unfair' that folks who've worked for 30 years make more that folks who haven't. That there has to be 'equality'.

Heck if I know - but like I've said before, if you get the 'fairness' and 'social justice' you want, the price YOU will have to pay will be a lot more than you're expecting - and more than we can all afford.

Kenny,If no one wa... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Kenny,

If no one wants to buy the power plants because they are too expensive to upgrade to EPA standards, the provision also allows the state, without getting competive bids to hire a private company of their choosing to operate the powerplants.

or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bid

Just because the plants will need to be upgraded doesn't mean they suddenly lose all of there value. If it's going to make it harder to sell than that's more reason to open it up to competitive bidding. Plus the government is not experienced enough in the buying and selling of power plants to access it's value.

Maybe my distrust of government is greater than yours, to me it reeks of corruption.

It has been proven time ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

It has been proven time after time if you lower taxes revenue increases. Higher taxes revenues decreases.

Well, that's incorrect. It may have happened before but it's not a rule-like relationship as you purport it to be. Higher taxes generally means higher revenues. Reagan raised taxes to raise revenues--remember? So did FDR. It's common sense. If trickle-down economics worked in practice, there wouldn't be so many unemployed and underemployed people in your country.

There is a reason the pheno... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

There is a reason the phenomena is called the Laffer curve...

Yeah I know, SCSI. I know t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Yeah I know, SCSI. I know that 100% taxation is economically retarded, and so is 0%. Lower taxes is not always going to grow revenues, and depending on the circumstances, higher taxes are sometimes necessary to help stimulate the economy (i.e. during WW II).

Higher taxes during WW2 did... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Higher taxes during WW2 did not stimulate the economy; they funded the war.




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