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Almost, But Not Quite, Entirely Unlike Tea

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"At first glance, the sites appeared to be unconnected and unplanned. But many were suspiciously well designed and strangely on point with their 'nonpartisan' and 'grassroots' statements." -Mark Ames and Yasha Levine

It began in February with CNBC correspondant Rick Santelli's seemingly impromptu call to action for a Chicago Tea Party protest against government assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure. So impactful was Santelli's effusion that an entire movement sprung forth whole the very same day. Within minutes and hours of Santelli's speech an inexplicably interlinked network of web sites materialized online. Santelli, whose contract with CNBC was due to expire within months, was conveniently catapulted into the conservative blogosphere limelight as a champion of the people.

Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, two seasoned Russia reporters, sensed something familiar in that the whole thing smelled like one of the Kremlin's propaganda movements designed to garner political control. Skeptical that a grassroots movement could miraculously organize and synchronize its message so quickly and even coordinate a nationwide protest within a week of Santelli's speech, Ames and Levine investigated. They reported, "…as our investigation showed, the key players in the Tea Party Web ring were no amateurs, but rather experienced Republican operatives with deep connections to FreedomWorks and other fake grassroots campaigns pushing pro-big-business interests."

Ames and Levine discovered that Santelli was a front for what they called, "…some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced," including the multibillionaire oil and gas moguls, the Koch family. One of whom, the late Fred Koch, cofounded the John Birch Society. "Koch money funds industry-friendly messages that fill our airwaves and editorial pages, and influences outcomes in the halls of Congress and courtrooms across the country," says Media Transparency, an organization that spells out the relationship between the Kochs and FreedomWorks on its web site.

FreedomWorks is skilled at installing shill protesters and creating fake grassroots groups — a practice known as astroturfing. AngryRenter.com, one of FreedomWorks' efforts, was outted by the Wall Street Journal as a creation of the foundation. Steve Forbes is a member of FreedomWorks' board of directors. The ironical WSJ headline read: "Mortgage Bailout Infuriates Tenants (And Steve Forbes)." Ames, Levine, and Alexander Zaitchik, called AngryRenter "… a site designed to imitate an amateur blog with a plutocrat’s agenda: to shoot down a $300 billion bill meant to help distressed American homeowners." The AngryRenter ruse manipulated individual renters to mount protest in the interests of financiers. In another exposure, an "average single mom" flaunted by the Bush administration, in its PR campaign to privatize social security was revealed, by The New York Times, to be one of FreedomWorks' state directors.

Ames and Levine pulled back the curtain on the alleged spontaneous uprising and revealed a rat pack of billionaires, lobbyists, political bigwigs and veteran astroturf-movement manufacturers. Read their articles to see the details on scrubbed web site links and other efforts to cover up interconnections between the actors. The owner of Officialchicagoteaparty.com, for example, is fake-grassroots PR campaign specialist named Eric Odom, whose site came online the day of Santelli's performance.

PR professionals like Odom, use marketing techniques and backing from big-money interests to install a movement or protest group from behind the scenes, giving it the appearance of being created by ordinary people. Actual ordinary folks then visit the web sites, sign petitions and attend rallies which may promote an agenda designed in the interests of big business. Meantime, the supporters believe they are connecting to a citizen-controlled movement.

"The Tea Parties were never about the little guy's fight against big government or Wall Street," write Ames and Levine. "FreedomWorks did not uncork Santelli while the government was bailing out the banks. The FreedomWorks machine was idle while Citibank and GE pocketed their billions. (The latter, incidentally, is a big donor to FreedomWorks). Freedomworks kicked off its anti-tax, anti-spending movement only when the government announced it would give money to regular Americans to help avoid a wave of housing foreclosures."

After the Ames and Levine charges created controversy, FreedomWorks conceded that they did in fact astroturf the Tea Party movement. Santelli wrote a piece on the CNBC site renouncing his role in the scheme. And now, only a little over a month later the movement is back in full force, this time with FreedomWorks in an upfront role as organizer.

It's possible none of this ruffles you. Maybe you're an admirer of the capitalist ingenuity that would so cleverly construct a con to harness the energy of popular dissent and use it to effect its own political ends. Maybe your agenda is a perfect fit with that of AIG, Citibank, and the wealthiest 2% of the population. But if your interests do diverge, be sure to meet whatever propaganda you are offered with skepticism and read the fine print carefully. Make sure no one slips something unexpected into your cup of tea.

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  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The fundamental flaw in your reasoning and that of your sources is that the involvement of FreedomWorks or other advocacy groups whose role was mostly to provide publicity does not change the spontaneous and authentic nature of these protests.

    I know from personal involvement that the main driving forces behind the Tea Parties were the non-partisan Campaign for Liberty and the Republican Liberty Caucus and some other groups on the ground who have access to highly motivated activists, and aren’t funded by or directly connected to or funded by FreedomWorks.

    As for the Koch family and foundation, for decades they have been among the foremost champions of liberty in the US. They fund the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity and at one time funded the Libertarian Party as well. While they may be pro-capitalist, they are pro-freedom first, and they are decidedly NOT pro-Republican. In fact, they will not fund partisan groups at all.

    Your other fallacy here is in thinking that the process here was in any way different from the process of any other major protest movement in America or any other country. Leftist protests on the US certainly follow the same pattern, with the genuine grassroots elements backed up by institutional advocacy groups like MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, which have lots of money and actively shill for leftist causes.

    And don’t think your anarchists are any different. When they get their protests rolling, the IWW and other anarchist groups are there with money and organizational backing as are all sorts of union front groups with big money from regional and national labor unions. It’s the same thing.

    So the fact that political advocacy groups and partisan groups all want to get involved when they see a movement happening does not, in fact, invalidate or delegitimize that movement or change the fact that the thousands who actually march are genuine and impassioned members of the “grassroots.”

    In fact, your whole premise here is cynical and rather insulting. You’re essentially doing the work of the left-wing propagandists whose misrepresentations you’re repeating. It’s the fellow travellers like you who have always smoothed the path for those who want to silence dissent.

    Having talked to anti-WalMart “protesters” who admitted to being given fake WalMart uniforms and being paid to protest by the United Service Industries Union, I’d say that the Tea Partiers have a long way to go before they’re as astroturfed as a lot of the protests on the left.

    Dave

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    This is quite amazing. With such back-and-forth discussion on the genuineness of the grass on which these protests are held, I suddenly don’t know what the protests were about*. Kudos, everyone, for zeroing in on the real debate!

    (* – Kidding. It’s a protest regarding American Idol, right?)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    BTW, if you do a little research on Ames and Levine you discover that they write for organizations which ultimately all trace their funding to the Open Society Institute which is funded by George Soros. And your friends at Media Transparency? Well, they just got taken over by Media Matters, which if you trace its funding is funded by the Democracy Alliance which, what a shocker, is also largely funded by George Soros.

    So I guess they aren’t so much investigative journalists as they are hatchetmen for the left wing establishment.

    Dave

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    So what if the tea parties were urged on by right-wingers? (Not that I believe it. I’m pretty open to the tea party concept for my own reasons, but no one ever contacted me. Plus I know of plenty of Democrats who participated.) Is it any different than what the Obama machine did on the other side?

  • Cindy

    Joanne,

    I hope I didn’t give the impression that the problem is about whether right-wingers urged on or even started the movement or whether or not democrats attend. I’m not questioning that there is nonpartisan participation.

    The problem is that it appears to be a manufactured movement. And who am I to say people should mind being manipulated and deceived. Apparently plenty of people think that’s the American way.

    Some people though, may not think being exploited in the ineterests of the huge companies that got bailed out is just something to overlook.

    Second, the concern is there may be a hidden agenda. If a person’s interests diverge from those of multibillionaires and oil companies, they may wish to look closely at the purpose of anything they are asked to participate in – say, signing a petition, for example.

    Is it any different than what the Obama machine did on the other side?

    Well yeah, actually it is quite different. This is not about a organization or a campaign, leading a movement.

    Did the Obama campaign set up pretend networks of web sites to fool people into believing they were participating in a grassroots effort.

    Some people might mind going to a web site thinking it’s Mary and Bob running it, when it’s a PR shill for elite special interests.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Cindy, it only appears to be a manufactured movement to those who are paid shills for those who oppose the values which the movement represents. And some dupes like yourself who repeat their propaganda.

    Dave

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “The problem is that it appears to be a manufactured movement.”

    Well, jeez, with all the manufacturing jobs lost overseas, what’s the fuckin’ problem?

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    Do you think that movements of which you approve, such as the Anarchists and the Zapatistas, aren’t employing every means at their disposal to sway and manipulate people into supporting them?

    Proselytizing, persuasion and manipulation (both overt and covert) are all staples of politics, there has never been a political/social movement that didn’t use these tactics to further its cause.

    And there never will be.

  • bliffle

    It’s surprising that the average American dolt will tolerate getting ripped off for a hundred billion by Big Business and then get upset if his neighbor gets a hundred thousand government benefit on his mortgage.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    When you’re pure at heart, you see no evil – except in all those who do not think like you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dave,

    Didn’t you say in one of your articles on “tea parties” that there was rather a lack of co-ordination, that the people weren’t exactly “on message,” they all had all kinds of opinions as to what it was about. And that’s from your personal experience, having attended one of them in Austin. And I believe that Mark (who had also attended one of them) made a comment to a similar effect, namely, a lack of focus.

    So it appears there are two completely different versions as to these events.

    Roger

  • Cindy

    Clav,

    That only tells me that you don’t really understand what Anarchism or Zapatismo is about.

    And your guess about what they do or would do seems to be based on and misguided by looking at what every other movement does.

    The Zapatistas, for example, disappointed the Mexican left by refusing to become an authority for the movement or to take power.

  • Cindy

    Because there is a nonpartisan involvement and there are real people involved who have a variety of agendas, this somehow proves that it wasn’t initiated through deception?

    ???

    I’m confused about the logic that says something like that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Bliffle (#9),

    I think you put too much credence in the opening sentence of this article, namely,

    “It began in February with CNBC correspondant Rick Santelli’s seemingly impromptu call to action for a Chicago Tea Party protest against government assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.”

    It is really quite an article of faith, to believe than anyone could be moved into action based on this kind of cause.

    And I don’t care how stupid one may think the Republicans to be – or whoever makes it a point to attend these events – people just aren’t THAT STUPID to get up in arms about something like that (unless of course you have a vested interest to believe in such a nonsense). To think that is to have the lowest possible opinion of these people, even if they are Republicans.

    PS: I’ve listened to Glenn Beck’s show a number of times, trying to mobilize his growing audience to participate – and his appeal always was in general terms: i.e., about inroads being made against the Constitution, people’s voices not being heard, irresponsible fiscal policy, the Stimulus package. I’ve never heard him express an outrage about the government trying to help out distressed homeowners.

  • M a rk

    (And there never will be.

    Clavos, nothing never changes. The task before us is to change our [admittedly pretty vile to this date] ‘human nature’ — which, after all is argued, is a matter of individual choice.)

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    What exactly would the author propose would have to happen for something to be genuinely “grassroots”? It’s not legitimate if any kind of people with any history of political involvement jump on the bandwagon?

    The author makes the [edited] presumption that the hundreds of thousands of people who showed up for tax day protests are idiots who had no idea what they were really, really there for. See, these people don’t understand their own true interest like Tolstoy’s Cat does.

    If they did, why of course they would support Obama’s socialist agenda. They’re obviously suffering from false consciousness. They’re obviously dupes. Perhaps the author might consider the slight possibility that there are a bunch of folks with different perspectives from her who honestly and with thought and reason come to different conclusions.

    The ridiculous conspiratorial business here about Santelli alone discredits the author. So, we’re to believe that Santelli was just on the verge of losing his job, but the Koch family or the Bilderbergs or Freemasons or such fed him instructions to do their bidding in order to save his job.

    Nevermind that this was maybe a 30 second mini-rant at the end of a routine market report. Obviously, there’s no way that an honest business reporter who spends their days covering markets would seriously object to sudden trillions of dollars of new spending and government power grabs. Why, it’s hard nearing impossible to believe that such a person would spontaneously pitch a bitch about such things for half a minute.

    Clearly, the Big Money Power Players knew that if a reporter on CNBC would invoke the words “tea party” in one routine report, stupid people around the country would rally by the hundreds of thousands to object to policies that are obviously in their own best interest.

    Common people are so stupid.

  • Bryan

    There is no logic behind this argument. I worked hard for the past few weeks as one of the key organizers of our local tea party and I can assure you that we were 100% grassroots. We even incurred expenses in putting it together, so don’t be so paranoid to assume that this is some ploy of the GOP machine. Several of us spoke to the crowd and demanded that our Republican “representatives” should be held responsible for ignoring the voice of the people… To great applause, might I add.

    Here’s the deal… Even though it sounds like you’re too obstinate to understand it… We’re pissed at a government that is using taxpayer money like it’s their own private bank account to spend from without any accountability… Republicans AND Democrats.

    Stop being so foolishly naive.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s not naive, Bryan, to presume that the GOP is capable of “dirty tricks.” Remember Nixon? In fact, it would be more naive to presume the opposite.

    The real question concerns these particular events (and no other) Despite some apparent holes and incredulities, she does seem to make a compelling case that some orchestration was at work; which isn’t to say a great deal of it wasn’t spontaneous.

    So you can’t just shoot this argument down by arguing from your high ideological and principled position but by dealing with it and dismantling it, if you can. In fact, you must show that her allegations are falsehoods. And so far you haven’t done it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Perversely perhaps, I find the “mainstream” media treatment of the “tea party” protests and the notion that they were a “put up job” encouraging.

    Conservatives, for the most part, don’t take to the streets in large numbers; personally, it goes very much against the grain and I have never even considered doing something like that. For many others as well, it may have to do with the notion of individuality and not caring to be or to behave as part of a herd. When large numbers of conservatives do unite in protest, even a multifaceted protest, it suggests that they are sufficiently irritated to become an increasingly significant and viable force.

    Having one’s comparatively rare public protests disparaged unfairly seems more likely to stimulate further such protests than to diminish the ardor of the protesters. I rather doubt that many of the protesters who saw the media coverage of their activities were dissuaded from further participation in such events; quite the contrary. So, have at it.

    Here, for what it may be worth, is an article discussing some of these and other points. It may have little attraction for those ideologically inclined to disparage the protesters, but may for the protesters and others of similar persuasion who may join them.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Cindy #12:

    I understand well enough both the Anarchists as well as the Zapatistas; perhaps I didn’t make my point clearly enough and gave you that impression.

    You say:

    And your guess about what they do or would do seems to be based on and misguided by looking at what every other movement does.

    Well, in a sense, yes, of course. Are you saying that Anarchists are not interested in growing their movement; in having the philosophy adopted worldwide, in “improving” (by their lights) the lot of people?

    If so, then why do you, on these threads bother to discuss and explain the tenets of anarchy to the rest of us, if not to sway us? Why were you excited when you saw what you interpreted to be a furthering of the Anarchist movement in the demonstrations in Greece and elsewhere a few weeks ago?

    A political (or social) philosophy that doesn’t proselytize soon dies altogether.

    They ALL do it, Cindy, Anarchists and Zapatistas included.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #19,

    Quite right. Being subjected to ridicule may well be the kind of spark enough to egg them on.

  • Arch Conservative

    Janet Napoloitano needs to be fired.

  • Clavos

    Excellent article, Dan(Miller), thanks for the link.

    Unfortunately, the author makes a good point about the lack of cohesiveness on the part of the Right. Paradoxically, it stems, in part (as he points out), from the strong streak of individualism cherished by most Conservatives.

    Let’s hope that the Tea Parties are the first step towards more and longer lasting unity.

  • pablo

    Roger 14

    Glenn Beck is a phony baloney character who gives lip service (similar to Nalle) to liberty, but is an employee of the ruling oligarchy, and even has had Secret Service protection on occasion.

    It was only a few months ago when he was calling for Ron Paul supporters to be rounded up and locked up.

    People of his ilk, such as Hannity, Limbaugh and others are working desperately for the MSM to attempt to co-opt a movement. This movement started with 9/11 truthers (contrary to what Nalle will tell you)and today encompasses a vast number of Americans that are waking up to the fact that they have been had by Wall Street, the CFR, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the IMF, the UN, all of whom are working in tandem to bring about a one world feudalistic society run by the same folks that print your fiat currency.

    Beck is a phony.

  • Clavos

    Glenn Beck is a phony baloney character who gives lip service (similar to Nalle) to liberty…

    Ah, but he does it so entertainingly.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Pablo,

    Of course Glenn Beck is (although I’m not going to link him with Dave, one reason being that Dave is on this here site, and by virtue of that alone, and compared to others who post here as well, deserves my respect).

    My comment was only that even in Beck’s case, the idea of “being outraged by the government helping distressed homeowners” was never used as a call to arms. And furthermore, that it is asinine IMO to believe that even the most simple-minded of the Republicans could really be energized by this and no other issue. I do, unfortunately, have a rather low opinion of most people in general, but not this low.

    Roger

  • pablo

    Clavos,

    Not my kind of entertainment.

  • pablo

    Republicans simple-minded? Surely you jest Roger. :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes, but to that extent? Even you can’t really believe it. Or can you?

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #20

    Clav,

    I think I agree with #20. But I thought I read something different in #8. Let me speak for myself, rather than generally, for a moment. As an anarchist there is nothing I want more than for the world to change. And I would use any means I felt were ethical to try to reach as many people in that effort as possible.

    But I wouldn’t knowingly use deception to do that. Anarchism is not first a political position. For me, it in an understanding or a philosophy or a way of viewing people and relationships, from which arises certain political actions and philosophies. (and understanding continues to develop through action as well) That’s a very important point I think.

    If one does anything, I would wonder what one considers anarchism. Here’s a quote about anarchism that seems useful:

    “The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently.” – Gustav Landauer

    It would defeat the whole point to try to convince someone to be an anarchist through deception. It would be behaving the same. How could one create a different world by behaving the same?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Changing the world starts with one’s immediate circle – family, acquaintances, friends, even fellow members on BC. It’s all about relationships. Only from relationships one can hope for a better society.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dave,

    BTW, if you do a little research on Ames and Levine you discover that they write for organizations which ultimately all trace their funding to the Open Society Institute which is funded by George Soros.

    Their article appeared in Playboy magazine, does George Soros own that? And Dave, where would you expect them to publish, if George Soros owns so many of the liberal publications?

    I don’t think you’re a shill Dave, and you like plenty of wacky things like Pajamas Media. Even if you wrote for a publication owned by the Kochs, it wouldn’t, in and of itself, mean you are in cahoots with them.

    And your friends at Media Transparency?

    In this case, whatever you think about Media Transparency, the information I pointed to was not secret accusations or propaganda. It was factual info about one of the Koch brothers who sits on the board of directors at FreedomWorks.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dave,

    As to your #1.

    Just so we are clear.

    This is all I am talking about:

    …and now the movement, spurred further by CNBC host Rick Santelli’s call for a “Chicago Tea Party,” is really taking off.”Michelle Malkin

    Here’s a quote from your own article:

    Inspired by a rant from financial pundit Rick Santelli, a movement sprang up to hold tea parties around the nation to object excessive spending and taxation. Santelli has since been left far behind and many others have climbed on the bandwagon… (Yes, I agree…)

    I never said that none of the tea parties (particularly by now) arose from grassroots actions.

    I understand that real people are involved, Democrats are involved, other organizations are in the forefront.

    I didn’t say that every tea party organizer is a secret spy for the Kochs or that FreedomWorks is the only organizer or that every web site created by Mary and Bob is really run by a secret Koch agent.

    I even said FreedomWorks has taken an up front role this time.

    I never said the Koch family was pro-Republican. I did say that some of those involved were Republicans. But I didn’t discuss them.

    Here’s a quote from Ames and Levine:

    FreedomWorks, [is] a powerful PR organization headed by former Republican House Majority leader Dick Armey and funded by Koch money.

    Lastly, I didn’t even address the idea of institutional funding or support.

    Even if the whole movement by now is filled with saintly enterprises and people whose only concern is for true liberty–it doesn’t mean that LibertyWorks and Santelli did not pull a stunt.

    If they did, then anyone should be concerned and should be careful. That is what I addressed.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Al Barger,

    What exactly would the author propose would have to happen for something to be genuinely “grassroots”? It’s not legitimate if any kind of people with any history of political involvement jump on the bandwagon?

    Oh, that’s easy. A grassroots movement, is a movement from the people. They can have all the political involvement they want. But if they are giant business interests and multibillionaires and professional liars, and they are hiding in the background scrubbing links and trying to fool people into believing they are average everyday citizens, then…oh you must have missed the part where I said all that. Let me put it this way:

    If this happened…

    1) Big business gets bailout.
    2) Big business doesn’t want mortgagors to get bailed out.
    3) Big business deems it unlikely that lobbying to this effect will be very helpful.
    4) So, big business coerces citizens into being a force for their interests instead.

    …then it did not start as a grassroots movement.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    So, Cindy,

    It appears that on one side you have George Soros funding shills and what’s his face Koch funding shills and everyone in the middle being screwed over in one way or another. It stinks all around – worse than a cat’s diarrhea.

    Living in Israel, I get to see a lot of these phony people’s movements organized by various sides of the political establishment. When you have a whole population raised on Russian subversiveness, no matter which side of the political fence they are on, you get the same kreplach in all the different soups, if you understand my meaning here.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Ruvy,

    I believe I do understand your meaning. I only have one thing to say, I am glad I prefer a matzo ball in my soup.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    #17

    There is no logic behind this argument. I worked hard for the past few weeks as one of the key organizers of our local tea party and I can assure you that we were 100% grassroots.

    Bryan,

    Right. The article was about the kick-off in February. Which, even then, ordinary people would have been expected to join.

    By now it would have to be a hybrid, even if you believe the article.

    I’m not sure why people are making the mistake that if ordinary people are involved it can’t be true that the start was rigged.

    I mean, the whole point would be to involve ordinary people right? Would you expect them to e-mail you and try to shut down your web site or stop you from protesting?

    I didn’t say they brainwashed people. I said they used them. By mobilizing them through deception. I also suggested you can’t trust people who use you.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Their article appeared in Playboy magazine, does George Soros own that? And Dave, where would you expect them to publish, if George Soros owns so many of the liberal publications?

    I was referring to their regular outlets through Soros’ leftwing blog networks. That Playboy published their work is just embarassing for Playboy.

    I don’t think you’re a shill Dave, and you like plenty of wacky things like Pajamas Media.

    Really? Show me where I’ve ever endorsed or even linked to Pajamas Media.

    Even if you wrote for a publication owned by the Kochs, it wouldn’t, in and of itself, mean you are in cahoots with them.

    Well, I was. I edited a publication funded by the Kochs. In fact, they underwrote my first real paychecks on graduating from college.

    Then as now, the Kochs were primarily interested in promoting freedom, not in the bizarre nefarious agenda you seem to think they have.

    In this case, whatever you think about Media Transparency, the information I pointed to was not secret accusations or propaganda. It was factual info about one of the Koch brothers who sits on the board of directors at FreedomWorks.

    And again, what’s the problem with FreedomWorks? Dick Armey is a pretty reasonable guy and their objectives are generally positive.

    I never said that none of the tea parties (particularly by now) arose from grassroots actions.

    Did you read your own article? Quoting people referring to them as “fake grassroots campaigns pushing pro-business interests” sure sounds like you’re saying they’re inauthentic.

    The whole thrust of your article is that these tea parties were fake “astroturfing” rather than genuine grassroots activism.

    I didn’t say that every tea party organizer is a secret spy for the Kochs or that FreedomWorks is the only organizer or that every web site created by Mary and Bob is really run by a secret Koch agent.

    Ok, you just don’t get it at all. The Kochs and to a lesser degree FreedomWorks aren’t the kind of people who have “secret spies.” They are authentic, pro-freedom people whose agenda you seem to have totally misconstrued. You’ve picked up on the fascist rhetoric of the angry left and bought into their smear campaign against people who just want Americans to have more opportunity and responsible government.

    Even if the whole movement by now is filled with saintly enterprises and people whose only concern is for true liberty–it doesn’t mean that LibertyWorks and Santelli did not pull a stunt.

    But your article and the article from Ames and Levine provide ZERO evidence that there was any advance planning of any of this prior to Santelli’s rant.

    The scenario as I see it makes a lot more sense. Santelli ranted, people picked up the sentiment, and then some groups like FreedomWorks got in on it as well. Why look for some arcane conspiracy when the truth is pretty much self evident?

    Dave

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Really? Show me where I’ve ever endorsed or even linked to Pajamas Media.

    In the comments section Dave. Does that count? Do you really want me to get a link?

    The whole thrust of your article is that these tea parties were fake “astroturfing” rather than genuine grassroots activism.

    Please see my #37 reply to Bryan. It answers this question. And really I am not sure why it is that if it was astroturfed it must mean there is or was zero grassroots activity. I hardly think that at all Dave. I think there are a lot of real people making efforts that are real grassroots efforts. What audience do you think my article is addressed to, if not the real participants?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Cindy, I have no idea who your article is addressed to. The real participants don’t object to groups like FreedomWorks or the Kochs because they understand that the success and prosperity of capitalist enterprises is central to the welfare of the nation and its people.

    Another of your mistaken assumptions is thinking that liberty activists will be shocked and horrified to find out that business interests share their goals. In reality they’re more likely to feel vindicated.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I ain’t getting on this thread – even if I have anything relevant to say – because I’m certain I’m only going to f … it up for the rest of yous.

    So good-bye for now.

  • pablo

    Nalle #1 you said:

    “I know from personal involvement that the main driving forces behind the Tea Parties were the non-partisan Campaign for Liberty and the Republican Liberty Caucus and some other groups on the ground who have access to highly motivated activists, and aren’t funded by or directly connected to or funded by FreedomWorks.”

    Thats funny I cannot find anything on the Republican Liberty Caucus substantiating your claim. I looked at the Republican Liberty Caucus
    Accomplishments Page, and did not see a reference to the Tea Parties. Any citations available? Perhaps you are just trying to plug your lame site as your the Chairman. Show me that I am wrong.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Pablo,

    You mustn’t have an updated page yet. Wait a week or so for the upcoming edition.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I just looked up the AngryRenter.com.

    It is plot to divide the American people and manufacture consent. No doubt about it. Only desperate factions of the party out of power could be responsible. It’s impossible to believe that this aspect at least of the “tea party” started out as a populous movement.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    This article, see link in Miller’s #19, by Salvato, is such a piece of ideological trash, it really is beyond me how any astute person can fail to see it as such.

    Consider even the opening line: “The political Left in the United States is making a grave mistake in diminishing and dismissing the anger of the American people.”

    The impression is being made as if the author really cared for what the oposition thinks (a usual ploy in any such writings), whereas in fact the real intention is just to energize his own side.

    Or take the next paragraph:

    “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”
    An amazing thing happened on the way to America’s socialistic demise…a revolution has fomented. Born of a righteous anger centered on wasteful and special interest government spending, lack of honest representation in government, a move toward transforming the United States Constitutional Republic into a Socialist Democracy, excessive taxation and many more constitutionally based grievances, conservatives, traditionalists and Republicans, as well as centrists, independents and Democrats, took to the streets of just about every congressional district to protest a behemoth runaway government run by an elitist and opportunistic political class. From Chicago to New York, St. Louis to San Francisco, St. Paul to Austin and Miami to Portland, hard-working, taxpaying Americans, who aren’t too often moved to taking to the streets in protest, took to the streets to redress their government.

    Really. So now we have angry, hard-working taxpayers taking to the streets in protest – on analogy with Patrick Henry and other patriots?

    I could go on, paragraph by paragraph, line for line. This whole article foams with hatred of anything that even smacks of any criticism of conservative politics. It’s just waiting to be torn apart into shreds – and I’d love to do it if I could. One problem however. I don’t deal with trash.

  • Clavos

    Interesting, Roger,

    In #21 you agree with Dan(Miller)’s #19, which is essentially based on the Salvato article to which he links.

    Then, in #45, you’re all vitriolic and in a hissy fit about what trash the article is.

    WTF?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I agree with Miller in that one particular respect – that ridicule can act like a spark. Still stand by that. But I haven’t skimmed through Salvato’s article then, and my point in #45 is more general.

    Salvato only pretends to be concerned with the Left, while his full-size intent is to energize the movement beyond its present dimensions. And he’d like to see it ridiculed for that very reason. And in my eyes, that makes him an ideologue, an instigator, and an agent provocateur.

    So I don’t see a contradiction here.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In short, my “ridicule can backfire” statement was made by me to signify agreement as to the fact; but Salvato is banking on that very thing (or hopes for it) to attain his ends.