Astro Turf Wars

Here is an excellent question posted on the blog yesterday: Why are the ones screaming the loudest about freedom the first ones demanding others have less freedom? The comment came from Northwest Ohio Native. Both he and I dip our toes into murky waters from time to time when we visit right-wing/Tea Party blogs.  Luckily we wear boots.

Apparently, as GW Bush once famously said, ‘There ought to be limits on freedoms.’

The Tea Party/right-wingers have a list of ‘freedoms’ which they cherish, such as free trade, no taxes, no regulation, no over-sight. One special freedom that they cherish is the freedom to tell others what not to think and do. Oxymoron-ical? Sure, but righteousness knows no boundaries.

Contradictions abound in the world at the far-right side.  By the way, the only way that there can be a far-right side of the world is if the world is flat. Nonetheless I press on. Take public demonstrations, for example. The First Amendment allows and I might add encourages ‘public assembly’ yet the far-right disdains the current Occupy Movement but drooled over the Tea Party demonstrations in ’09. If you dare venture into the right-wing blogosphere, it is Occupy-bashing 24/7. Apparently that First Amendment ought to have limits.

Although these Occupy gatherings have not claimed to be a left-leaning movement nor has the Democratic Party endorsed the movement, the Tea Party/right-wing has thus declared them so. Yet, in contrast, the activists in the Tea Party demonstrations in 2009 have been exposed as nothing more that members of the right-wing of the Republican Party. Further, the ‘movement’ was not grassroots by a long shot. It was funded and designed by corporate heads and funded and promoted by the Koch brothers. This is well-documented in the film, AstroTurf Wars.

Columnist George Minbiot of the Guardian penned a piece for the newspaper last year titled, The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires. The term astroturf used in title of the film, Minbiot says, sets the so-called Tea Party movement into an entirely different class- an artificial class, much like the plastic green of astroturf. It was clearly not a grassroots movement, as artificial as plastic grass.

Artificial. I like that word. Fake, contrived, stilted and unreal are some excellent synonyms. The Tea Party.

So these blogs into which we wade are pretty much artificial as well. Yet, here is the worst part- these bloggers don’t know that they are stooges. Really, it is quite sad to read the stuff that they print. Monbiot calls them, ‘…passionate, well-meaning people who think they are fighting elite power, unaware that they have been organised by the very interests they believe they are confronting.’

Duping comes to mind. But you can’t tell them that because, well, they’ve been duped into ‘believing’ that they are fighting a worthy crusade. This myth is reinforced 24/7 throughout the day on AM radio and, therefore, it is not surprising that these bloggers write what is drilled into their heads by the professional propagandists on the airwaves.

We return to the opening question: Why are the ones screaming the loudest about freedom the first ones demanding others have less freedom? The answer is clear- the elite always demand more for themselves and less for The People. What is shameful is that the corporate elite has thoroughly brainwashed a sector of our citizens into thinking that it is appropriate, even patriotic, to bash The People when The People are trending against the elite.

The word pathetic doesn’t come close.


5 thoughts on “Astro Turf Wars

  1. I think the original comment was “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”, but the sentiment remains the same.

    These are low information voters and libertarianism plays to their ignorance. Pretty words without meaning. But, that’s how propaganda works–appeal to emotion rather than intellect, demonise, use us v them, use fear, control the flow of information, and so on. They get their news from Fox, but NPR is getting just as bad with spokespeople from various Koch “think tanks” giving their opinion.

    Worse, often without rebuttal from the opposite side.

    For the most part, the US is an Island where it can restrict the flow of information.

    I find it scary that the right can have its opinion fueled by like-minded blogs. Our discredited commenter still posts to his echo chamber. And they don’t fact check.

    Low information, inaccurate information, and having it reinforced is a very scary combination.

  2. OK, I comprehend the concept that government should stay out of our lives (but not our bedrooms or the consequences of what can be produced in that bedroom), but here is my QUESTION : Which Political Party espouses an anti-business, anti-job and anti-family message ?

    As you ponder that consider :
    — The Chamber of Commerce has already indicated that they want investments in infrastructure, but what about investments in Education ?
    — If Congress fails to invest in Education, will businesses send more work overseas ?
    — A new Pew report says America’s birth rate plunged after 2007 coinciding with the recession (
    — Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards.

    Is now the time to cut Pell Grants and investments in Education ?
    A survey of Minnesota manufacturers in 2011 shows almost half had positions unfilled due to lack of qualified applicants. Skilled production and science and engineering occupations had the greatest shortage. Minnesota’s Southwest region showed 49 percent of the manufacturers responding to the survey indicated a moderate or serious worker shortage. Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton (D) just held a Jobs Summit and the business leaders were complaining about the shortages of skilled workers.

    IMO, those politicians that advocate eliminating the Federal Government involvement in Education ( in the Senate, the Education Committee recently passed new Education Reform legislation and defeated an amendment to eliminate it (17-3 with Rand Paul, Orrin Hatch and Richard Burr dissenting)); bemoan President Obama’s efforts to improve the student loan system; and advocate for solving the national debt by cutting Pell Grants ( … are Anti-business, anti-job and anti-family.
    Cutting Pell Grants that is a prime source of education funding for low-income students that attend community colleges will discourage training. Our jobs are going overseas because we do not have enough trained workers. Invariably, families will continue to make the conscious decision that they cannot afford more children.

    Yep, anti-business, anti-job and anti-family … That’s the anti-government Party.

  3. You bring up some excellent points to ponder, Minnesota. Thanks.

    The comment, government should stay out of our lives but not our bedrooms… throws such a curve ball at this set of righteous fools that they strike out every time. Did you read that the Mississippi GOP wants that state to declare that a fertilized egg is a ‘person?’ So much for ‘government interference’ in our lives, eh?

    Then there is the GOP effort to dismantle public education in this nation and replace it with for-profit schools. The Pell Grant issue that you bring up- especially as it affects low-income students- is most pathetic. Of course, you can already see how that scenario will play out: the right-wingers will cry that inner city youth with no jobs commit crim, but they will be in denial that this may be because the right-wingers slashed education benefits for them.

    Naturally, this all plays into their demented world view that ‘those people’ are lazy, shiftless and stupid. The racism card always plays well an often in their deck.

    If you are looking for any logic or sense from right-wingers, don’t waste your time. I’ve been observing and chatting with them for over a year now and, if there was one conclusion to be drawn from that experience it is that a common thread on the far right side of the political spectrum- is a sense of righteousness even in the presence of facts that contradict their beliefs.

    In fact, I will go further. I do not know the exact percentage, but my guess is that at least 75% of those on the far-right are Bible-believing Christians. I wish I had data on that, but I think I’m in the ballpark. As a consequence of that Bible-based upbringing, my hypothesis suggests that the concept of ‘belief’ trumps facts.

    The myths of Jonah and Noah come easily to mind. There is no logic or science- neither medical nor engineering to support the truth to either of these stories, yet Bible-believing Christians DO BELIEVE that these two myths are fact.

    How easy is it, therefore, for this set of people to BELIEVE stuff that is hearsay or, worse, propaganda? The answer: terribly easy. They are especially ripe for propaganda- the type that goes on 24/7 on the AM radio dial.

    Oh, this will all be denied, of course, and we who may suggest this hypothesis are jackass communists who don’t love America. You get the scenario. It’s a Bubble-Universe v. the real world. How in the hell could we ever communicate with those in an altered reality?

  4. I watched Inside Job last night, and the current US citizen is receiving a worse education than his parents–the cost of education has gone up and public education is falling apart (that wasn’t really covered, but was mentioned).

    If you are looking for any logic or sense from right-wingers, don’t waste your time.

    I am finding that to be too true in the USA. The right is too propagandised to know what is going on. The media (includes public broadcasting) is shifting to the right and sending out the same message without question.

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