Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obamacare, 'grassroots support' and 'astroturfing'

I've been growing more and more infuriated by the lies, evasions and deliberate mendacity of those seeking to shove the monstrosity that is Obamacare down our throats. Most recently, as you're probably aware, a father with a disabled son tried to call his representative, only to have all of his calls ignored. When he wheeled his son into a public meeting, and insisted on voicing his concerns, his representative lied to him, saying that an amendment to the legislation would cover his son's situation (there was and is no such amendment), and then proceeded to write him off as an outside agitator (he's actually a resident of that representative's constituency). Even worse, it's alleged that threats were subsequently made against the resident's family. Here's the video report from Breitbart TV, if you're interested.

Sickening, isn't it?

After watching that video, I noted Speaker Pelosi's and other Democrats' comments that those opposed to Obamacare are 'astroturfing' - trying to fake public opposition to the plan. I decided to do a bit of Web searching to see just who's 'astroturfing' and who's not.

For those who don't know the term, Wikipedia defines it as follows:

Astroturfing is a word in English describing formal political, advertising, or public relations campaigns seeking to create the impression of being spontaneous "grassroots" behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass, AstroTurf.

The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt ("outreach", "awareness", etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual pushing a personal agenda or highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations, non-profits, or activist organizations. Very often the efforts are conducted by political consultants who also specialize in opposition research.

Caleb Howe points out that supporters of Obamacare are openly advertising well-paid jobs to 'promote community support' for the program - in other words, they're paying for people to 'astroturf'. He gives many examples in his post, including these two (click the images to enlarge them - you may need to click them a second time to get them fully re-sized):

There's more at the link.

Looks pretty straightforward to me. Those who are hiring 'astroturfers' are supporters of Obamacare, not its opponents.

Ed Morrissey points out where the money's coming from to hire these astroturfers.

George Soros, who once pledged his entire fortune in an unsuccessful effort to unseat George Bush, has pledged another $5 million to overcome popular opposition to the government takeover of the health-care industry.

. . .

Soros — whose operation carefully guards the privacy of such donations — made the pledge to Health Care For America Now, the leading coalition of pro-reform groups, unions and providers, HCAN chief Richard Kirsch confirmed in an email that was forwarded to me. …

The Soros pledge is noteworthy, because both sides will seize on it. The right will say it shows the real astroturfing is coming from the pro-reform side — billionaire bogeyman Soros is bankrolling this fight!

The left will cite the donation to demand that HCAN show real results. Some on the left, such as blogger Jane Hamsher, have been asking why heavily-bankrolled HCAN hasn’t been able to secure more commitments from Dem members of Congress to stand firm behind a public option.

. . .

[Quoting the New York Times:]

The drug industry has authorized its lobbyists to spend as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting President Obama’s health care overhaul, beginning over the August Congressional recess, people briefed on the plans said Saturday.

. . .

To give this some perspective, it helps to recall that John McCain spent $126 million on advertising for the entire general election campaign in 2008. Why have the pharmaceuticals gone for ObamaCare in a big way? Obama promised not to use Medicare’s market advantage to drive down prices any more than the $80 billion already pledged by the industry. That’s basically price-fixing of a kind that the Federal Trade Commission would investigate if it involved a private-sector insurance giant.

Remind me again which side is Astroturfing and getting big, powerful firms funding their operation, and which one represents the actual sense of Americans on government-controlled health care.

There's more at the link.

Friends, when organizations such as big-business pharmaceuticals, community 'organizations' such as ACORN, far-left-wing politicians who can't tell the truth to save their own lives, and trades union thugs, all end up pushing the same agenda - and beating up, both verbally and physically, on those who oppose it - great big flashing warning lights should be going on in our minds. When the mainstream media almost universally neglect to report on any of those facts, and we have to rely on the blogosphere and independent investigators to discover the facts, those warning lights should redouble in intensity.

We're being taken for a ride, people - a Mafia-style ride. Let's hope we can get free before the cement sets around our feet, and they throw us off the pier into the swamp.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem I see for this mob is that unlike the real mob, this bunch of clowns forgot to pat us down for weapons before throwing us in the trunk...

Could get ugly when they pop the trunk.