tagged w/ astroturf
Not that I expect anyone to be oblivious to what these assholes have been up to, but it appears that one of them has been quite busy here at Current. Anyway, I thought I'd share a song. Hope it brings a little cheer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctHL0hfWroUNot that I expect anyone to be oblivious to what these assholes have been up to, but... more
OK, I know I’m going to take some heat from this, but I actually believe that the soccer fields would be better replaced by the artificial turf than keeping the grassy gopher community that’s there now. To me it is a sound safe move that will only affect a very small amount of Golden Gate Park.OK, I know I’m going to take some heat from this, but I actually believe that... more
by Eric K. Arnold, Media Consortium blogger
Smart phones are hip, trendy, and loaded with user-friendly apps. But these devices also collect and store your personal information, leaving huge security gaps.
The prevalence of spyware in mobile technology and social networking sites has huge implications as a privacy issue, since users have no way of knowing who’s peeping, or for what purpose. New concerns over mobile and Internet privacy have been raised at the federal and state level, and there’s already push-back from some of the major players in the tech industry.
As Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) writes for Care2, recent studies indicate smart phones and other mobile apps are being used as remote spyware. Franken, one of the leading advocates for Net Neutrality and other media policy issues on Capitol Hill, notes that researchers found that “both iPhones and Android phones were automatically collecting certain location information from users’ phones and sending it back to Apple and Google—even when people weren’t using location applications.”
One particularly disturbing aspect of these revelations is that location information could be used by cyberstalkers. Franken notes he’s been contacted by battered women’s organizations on this issue, but as the senator states, there are “a range of harms that can come from privacy breaches.”
Stronger federal law concerning mobile broadband security is needed, Franken argues.
“Right now, once the maker of a mobile app, a company like Apple or Google, or even your wireless company gets your location information, in many cases, under current federal law, these companies are free to disclose your location information and other sensitive information to almost anyone they please — without telling you. And then the companies they share your information with can share and sell it to yet others — again, without letting you know.”
Social Networking Privacy Bill Faces Opposition from Facebook and Twitter
The widespread popularity of social networking has also resulted in widespread concerns over privacy. Yet, as Truthout’s Nadia Prupis reports, “Facebook, Google, Skype, and Twitter have joined forces to oppose an online privacy bill in California that would prevent the companies from displaying users’ personal information without explicit permission.”
The bill in question is SB 242, a.k.a. the Social Networking Privacy Act. Introduced by California State Senator Ellen Corbett (D), the bill would create stronger privacy guidelines, and also require social networking sites to remove personal information, if the user requests, within 48 hours. A failure to do so would result in a $10,000 fine per instance.
Facebook and other sites say such privacy protections could harm their business. But legislators weren’t so sure. California’s Senate Judiciary Committee, which passed the measure on May 16, called the threat to privacy “serious,” adding, “[It] is unclear how requiring that default settings be set to private would unduly restrict the free expression of users who elect to disseminate their information.”
Tweeting Back at Comcast
Former FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell-Baker’s pending move to Comcast has been met with loud cries over conflict of interest. As Public News Service’s Mark Scheerer reports, more controversy has erupted, this time over Reel Grrls, a Seattle media training summer camp for young women, which sent out a tweet denouncing Attwell-Baker’s new job.
“Following Reel Grrls’ Twitter post,” Scheerer says, “a local Comcast vice-president immediately rescinded its annual $18,000 donation to the girls’ program. Comcast then apologized, calling it an action by an ‘unauthorized employee.’ By then, says Reel Grrls director Mallory Graham, the media had picked up the story and support came pouring in.”
The story goes on to note that non-profits like the Center For Media Justice (CMJ) helped to raise more than $14,000 for the program, allowing Reel Grrls to politely decline Comcast’s offer to restore the funding. The upshot of the whole episode: Reel Grrls’ will focus its summer program on free speech issues.
An Open Internet, Communities of Color, and Astroturf Orgs
Afro-Netizen recently picked up an op-ed by CMJ’s Malkia Cyril on digital diversity as it relates to Net Neutrality. Cyril writes:
In the fight over who will control the Internet, big companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast are hoping they will win a pass on FCC oversight and public interest protection leaving them free to make as much profit as they can even if the service they provide is gated and discriminatory. Some civil rights groups are legitimately concerned that protecting the public from discrimination online -especially the poor and people of color- from the proven abuses of Big Media companies will result in those companies refusing to build out high speed broadband to rural communities and poor urban communities.
She goes on to express her concern over media advocacy organization the Minority Media and Telecommunication Council (MMTC), calling it an “Astroturf” outfit whose positions on the open Internet issue happen to coincide with those of the telecommunication companies, while appearing to champion increased minority broadband access.
As Cyril points out, there’s a perplexing disconnect there. “What doesn’t make sense is that groups like MMTC would deny that the financial relationship between them and the same media companies that are blackmailing the communities MMTC claims to represent, has an impact on their position on open Internet protections.”
Who You Callin’ a Slut?
On May 24, MSNBC talk-show host Ed Schultz referred to conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut.” Though Schultz was publicly rebuked and quickly suspended by MSNBC after his remark, Yana Walton of the Women’s Media Center blogged that sexism isn’t OK, even when it’s directed at someone whose politics you don’t agree with. Though Walton says Schultz has historically been a supporter of women’s issues, she also notes:
In a media climate where Talkers Magazine’s “Heavy Hundred” list of the top talk radio hosts only included 12 women with their own programs, (plus two women co-hosts), such comments dissuade women from entering into political talk radio careers. Thus, such comments widen gender disparities in media even further and contribute to a climate where half of America’s voices and priorities are not heard.
Walton also praised MSNBC for their handling of the issue, saying the cable network’s “decision to place the issue of media sexism front and center was commendable, and today they set the example for other networks who are often guilty of media sexism, yet aren’t even beginning to address the problem.”
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about media policy and media-related matters by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. To read more of the Wavelength, click here. You can also follow us on Twitter.by Eric K. Arnold, Media Consortium blogger Smart phones are hip, trendy, and... more
From Raw Story .com:
Progressive and liberal activists are planning at the end of the month to confront the secretive billionaire family that finances the so-called Tea party movement and a host of other right-wing causes and institutions.
"Our government is supposed to be of, by and for the people. So are you ready to take it back?" an invitation for the "Uncloaking the Kochs" event asked.
The Sunday, Jan. 30 event thrown by Common Cause, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization, aims to educate attendees in California on the Koch brothers who will be strategizing nearby with their mega-wealthy allies to win the 2012 elections. Afterwards, activists will rally in Rancho Mirage.
"We can't sit back while a few billionaires destroy the fragile fabric of democracy and the protections that are so necessary for the health of our society," Jodie Evans of CodePink told Alternet. "It is time for the progressive community to gather together and say no more, and what better place than where the Koch brothers are plotting their next moves."
Panel discussions will feature Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary; Van Jones, founder of Green for All; Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Irvine Law Dean; Lee Fang, Center for American Progress blogger and Koch Brothers expert; and DeAnn McEwen, co-president of the California Nurses Association.
For the last 30 years, the Koch brothers, who inherited their wealth from their father's oil interests, have funded a large portion of the conservative movement on issues that promote business over the environmental, labor, and public health concerns.
Recently, David and Charles Koch through their network of foundations and nonprofits outspent ExxonMobile on astroturf campaigns to misinform the American public about climate change legislation.
"From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding to organizations of the 'climate denial machine,'" Greenpeace International reported.
Koch also donated funds to elect George W. Bush in 2000 as well as influence the results of the vote recount in Florida.
Among the top recipients of Koch funding are Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute, which was co-founded by Charles Koch in 1977. Lesser amounts have gone to such groups as Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and the Capital Research Center, which has been the primary source of ACORN-related conspiracy theories.
Prominent members of Congress to whom Koch has donated generously include Republicans Eric Cantor (R-VA) and John Boehner (R-OH) and Democrat Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).
Koch Industries, the second largest private company in America, recently sued a group of pranksters who claimed that the company would adopt pro-environment policies from now on.
“This is not a Koch Industries release,” a Koch spokesperson said in an advisory. “We remain committed to the principled positions we have taken on a wide variety of issues.”
Comedian Bill Maher on Friday lashed out at the followers of the Tea party movement whose activities are funded by Koch's Americans for Prosperity group.
The Founding Fathers "were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit," he said.
http://www.politifake.org/image/political/small/1011/the-koch-brothers-tea-party-political-poster-1288920960.jpgFrom Raw Story .com: Progressive and liberal activists are planning at the end of... more
These astroturf libertarians are the real threat to internet democracy
As I see in threads on my articles, the online sabotaging of intelligent debate seems organised. We must fight to save this precious gift!
They are the online equivalent of enclosure riots: the rick-burning, fence-toppling protests by English peasants losing their rights to the land. When MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and Amazon tried to shut WikiLeaks out of the cyber-commons, an army of hackers responded by trying to smash their way into these great estates and pull down their fences. In the WikiLeaks punch-up the commoners appear to have the upper hand. But it's just one battle. There's a wider cyberwar being fought, of which you hear much less. And in most cases the landlords, with the help of a mercenary army, are winning.
I'm not talking here about threats to net neutrality and the danger of a two-tier internet developing, though these are real. I'm talking about the daily attempts to control and influence content in the interests of the state and corporations: attempts in which money talks.
The weapon used by both state and corporate players is a technique known as astroturfing. An astroturf campaign is one that mimics spontaneous grassroots mobilisations but which has in reality been organised. Anyone writing a comment piece in Mandarin critical of the Chinese government, for instance, is likely to be bombarded with abuse by people purporting to be ordinary citizens, upset by the slurs against their country.
But many of them aren't upset: they are members of the 50 Cent Party, so-called because one Chinese government agency pays five mao (half a yuan) for every post its tame commenters write. Teams of these sock-puppets are hired by party leaders to drown out critical voices and derail intelligent debates.
• A fully referenced version of this article is available on George Monbiot's website
There is much more that couldn't fit go read...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/dec/13/astroturf-libertarians-internet-democracyhttp://neuralgourmet.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/libertarian_housepets.jpg As I... more
This clip shows Libertarian Austin James of American Majority training tea party activists on guerrilla internet tactics to "control the online dialogue". The footage was shot at the 2009 American Liberty Tour, run by a group of libertarian groups tied to real-estate mogul and Koch associate Howie Rich. The clip is taken from a section of the film showing how libertarian/free-market groups are recruiting tea party protestors into their cause.
Watch the video, and you will notice the same astroturf tactics are being used here on Current by Libertarians.
http://unreasonablefaith.com/2010/10/24/training-tea-party-activists-in-guerilla-internet-tactics/This clip shows Libertarian Austin James of American Majority training tea party... more
In Harris County (Houston), Texas, a tea party group called King Street Patriots is engaged in a systematic attack on voting rights. They are working dirty hand in dirty hand with a Republican County voter registrar to suppress the votes of those they believe unworthy, that is, those who might disagree with their own political choices. Of course, they say they just want fair and open elections. “It’s really about truth,” says King Street founder Catherine Engelbrecht in an 8-minute video that includes doctored images and phony charges of “fraud” against…well, you only see pictures of African-Americans when fraud is discussed, so the implication is clear.
Read the rest at above link.In Harris County (Houston), Texas, a tea party group called King Street Patriots is... more
Check out the Miss Misinformation Contest to see who takes home the crown!
Organizations with massive funding from oil and gas corporations compete to see who will be crowned the biggest misinformer of climate change!
This (ugly) beauty pageant is just plain hilarious.
http://www.youtube.com/gpgrassrootsCheck out the Miss Misinformation Contest to see who takes home the crown!... more
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the corporate front group founded in the 1980s by Koch Industries billionaire David Koch, worked closely with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to orchestrate the anti-health reform rally today. As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, AFP has been encouraging right-wing activists to board their buses — free of charge — to attend the rally. While AFP does not disclose all of its corporate donors, foundations controlled by David and Charles Koch provide millions in yearly funding, and David continues to chair the AFP foundation and preside over AFP’s annual convention.
ThinkProgress found at least a dozen AFP staffers standing at their designated bus drop off point near the Capitol, handing out signs, directions, talking points, petitions, and donuts to protesters. Many of the people who work at AFP are longtime Republican operatives, like Ben Marchi, the AFP Virginia director who previously worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee and for Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX). Victor Zapanta produced this video report of AFP staffers talking about their exploits at the rally today:
AFP STAFFERS: We have 25 buses just from Pennsylvania, New Jersey we probably have 5 or 6 from Maryland.
AFP STAFFERS: We have about 40 buses coming.
Watch it: (See Video)
David Koch’s AFP has a long history of marshaling “grassroots” support for GOP objectives. In the early 1990s, AFP, then known as Citizens for a Sound Economy, worked secretly with then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) to organize angry crowds following the Clintons as they touted their health reform bill. Industry money from health insurance, telecommunications, oil, and other companies has flowed freely to AFP over the years to help AFP promote an agenda of boosting the rich, stripping consumer safeguards, and maintaining corporate monopolies. Phillip Morris rented out AFP from the Koch family, contributing millions to the organization in exchange for AFP to build opposition to tobacco regulations.
AFP’s daily activities are managed by Tim Phillips, an infamous astroturf lobbyist who built a career using Christian front groups to wage stealth campaigns. For example, his work includes fighting under the radar to promote energy deregulation for Enron and helping Jack Abramoff clients continue forced abortion sweatshops in the Northern Mariana Islands.
Will the media report on the true driver of today’s rally? Or will they leave David Koch out of the equation, despite his hand-in-glove involvement.
http://thinkprogress.org/2009/11/05/david-koch-astroturf/Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the corporate front group founded in the 1980s by Koch... more
New documents expose the inner workings of the shadowy astroturf operation that aimes to sink clime lesgisation.
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/10/bonner-letters-congressional-hearingNew documents expose the inner workings of the shadowy astroturf operation that aimes... more
In light of the EPA’s decision (at the behest of the U.S. Supreme Court) to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, a big push to oppose that listing is bubbling up from the plastic “roots” of AstroTurf Nation.In light of the EPA’s decision (at the behest of the U.S. Supreme Court) to... more
For months now multimillionaire healthcare entrepreneur Rick Scott has been at the center of the aggressive campaign to derail healthcare reform in Washington, D.C. Reprising the role he played nearly 20 years ago, when as the head of a national hospital chain he helped kill Clintoncare, the former hospital-chain executive founded the group Conservatives for Patients' Rights, raising $20 million to fight Obamacare, including $5 million of his own money. The tall, lean Scott, whose shiny bald head swivels in exasperation at the idea of government involvement in healthcare, even stars in its nationwide ad campaign comparing Democratic proposals to socialized medicine. Through this group, he has fomented the conservative strategy to disrupt town hall-style healthcare meetings around the country by shouting down elected officials. (CPR sent schedules of the meetings to so-called Tea Party activists.) He can justifiably claim some of the credit for the Senate Finance Committee's two votes Tuesday against a public option. But in Rick Scott the right has found a frontman whose baggage threatens to overwhelm his message.
A linchpin of Scott's 2009 campaign has been the use of anecdotes from abroad -- horror stories from Britain and Canada meant to illustrate how government-controlled healthcare systems "clearly kill people" by controlling their access to care, as he told Fox's Sean Hannity in June. He even funded a documentary titled "Faces of Government Healthcare" cataloging the horror stories of British and Canadian patients who were purportedly denied medical attention for life-threatening illnesses until it was too late.
Yet even as Scott makes the rounds of Congress and talk-show green rooms, a wrongful death lawsuit has been working its way through the Florida courts against a doctor employed by the chain of walk-in clinics Scott founded. Scott has repeatedly bragged that the 27-clinic, Florida-based company, Solantic, is an example of the free-market ingenuity needed to fix our ailing medical infrastructure. The lawsuit, however, alleges a Solantic doctor misdiagnosed a patient's deep-vein thrombosis as a sprained ankle, leading to a pulmonary embolism and death. That same doctor was reprimanded by the state for misdiagnosing deep-vein thrombosis in a patient who died two years earlier. It's the kind of anecdote you'd expect to hear in Scott's documentary -- except that it condemns a free-market system where profit and patient volume may take precedence over care.
And this isn't the first time that Scott's warnings about the ills of socialist medicine have found an ironic echo in his own healthcare business. Scott argues that socialized medicine rations care and strangles competition, yet just after his first stint as anti-reform spokesman in the 1990s, while he was running the world's largest healthcare company, he was accused of monopolizing markets and choking out the competition while slashing the chain's costs to the point that it affected patient care. And while he asserts that two of the core principles of healthcare reform are "accountability" and "personal responsibility," Scott ran a company that ultimately pleaded guilty to defrauding the government in one of the nation's largest Medicare frauds ever. Two executives went to prison, the company paid almost $2 billion in fines, and Scott was pushed out of the company. Before he could retake the political stage, he had to build his healthcare business all over again.
more at link....For months now multimillionaire healthcare entrepreneur Rick Scott has been at the... more
I was watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight and saw this ad trying to get Americans to call their representatives and urge them NOT to support the proposed tax on sugary beverages, which just happen to be the number one cause of obesity in children (http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20081229_soda_fat_and_you/).
The end of the ad said that it was sponsored by Americans Against Food Taxes, so I decided to see who funds that organization. According to SourceWatch, http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_Against_Food_Taxes :
"Americans Against Food Taxes is a coalition funded by the beverage industry which consists of major restaurant chains, food and soft drink manufacturers and their associated lobbying groups. It was organized by the American Beverage Association to fight a proposed three to ten cent tax on soda, sugary drinks and energy drinks to help fund health care reform in the United States ... its extensive membership consists mainly of lobbying groups for packaged food and soda companies, chain restaurant corporations and the world's large food and soft drink manufacturers and distributors, including the Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper-Royal Crown Bottling Co., PepsiCo, Canada Dry Bottling Co. of New York, the Can Manufacturers Institute, 7-Eleven Convenience Stores, and Yum! Brands."
I believe that is refered to as astroturf (fake grassroot campaigns)...
Why do we let corporations have a voice in our democratic process?!I was watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight and saw this ad trying to get... more
Oil industry employees continued their ‘Energy Citizens’ tour today in conservative towns in New Mexico, after holding a “glorified company picnic” in Houston on Tuesday. Local New Mexico blog FBIHOP reports that the API/NAM/Chamber of Commerce/FreedomWorks/Big Oil astroturf rallies will take place today in Roswell and tomorrow in Farmington -- “they will hold their meetings before going out and claiming these were grassroots efforts.”
NMFBIHOP aptly called the Houston Astroturf event an "energy employees rally," a more fitting description of the closed door event that drew somewhere between 2,500-3,500 oil industry employees who were bussed in and given yellow ‘Energy Citizen’ t-shirts in “another high-priced photo op for the oil and gas industry.”
Today’s event in Roswell was reportedly organized by the DW Turner PR firm, which represents BP and Chevron. Chevron played a central role in the Houston rally as well, bussing in hundreds of employees to take part in the “company picnic.” Spokesman Morgan Crinklaw told the San Francisco Chronicle that Chevron "plans to offer the same opportunity to employees to participate in events taking place near our Farmington, N.M., and Anchorage, Alaska, offices."
The oil industry is paying its employees to go to these events, claiming that they are “grassroots,” when nothing could be further from the truth. If you live in one of the cities below where these ‘Energy Citizen’ rallies are taking place in the next few weeks, show up with your video cameras and ask questions, like: "Do you know why you're here today?" Or "Are you here because your boss made you come?" If media are at the event, be sure to urge them to report these events as fake astroturf events organized by oil companies.Oil industry employees continued their ‘Energy Citizens’ tour today in... more
Yesterday, I reported that the anti-health care reform group Conservatives for Patients Rights was enlisting tea party protesters to attend and disrupt health care town halls hosted by members of Congress in their regions.
Today, CPR--which is headed by disgraced hospital executive Rick Scott, and has enlisted the message men behind the Swift Boat campaign--has acknowledged their behind-the-scenes role in the outbursts.
Spokesman Brian Burgess tells Greg Sargent that CPR is distributing "town hall alert" flyers to people on its mailing lists and is reaching out to third party groups via online list serve.
Perhaps the most significant of these discussion groups is the called Tea Party Patriots, which is managed by Tom Gaitens, a field organizer for the industry-funded lobbying organization FreedomWorks. Members of this list serve were not only supplied with list of town hall forums, but with a strategy document outlining the same disruptive techniques we're seeing play out at health care public forums around the country.
The disclosure makes official what much of the reporting about the disruptions seemed to indicate: that industry funded groups--who stand to benefit if health reform legislation fails--are playing a significant role in organizing, and perhaps ginning up, the outbursts we're seeing at health care public forums around the country.Yesterday, I reported that the anti-health care reform group Conservatives for... more
In a desperate measure to prevent meaningful health care reform the GOP is engaged in a campaign of dirty tricks and misinformation. One tactic is called "astroturfing". It is an attempt to make something artificial look natural, to create the impression of spontaneous, "grassroots" behavior. This astroturfing, the effort to discredit health care reform, is being paid for in large part by the health insurance industry.In a desperate measure to prevent meaningful health care reform the GOP is engaged in... more
Just like the oh-so-spontaneous tea bagging movement, Rachel Maddow exposes the anti-healthcare movement as the astroturf it is. Conservative drones may not want to click the link, as it includes links to sources for her material and I know how much conservatives hate it when you back up your arguement with facts.
Gotta love the teabaggers / anti-healthcare people - they are volunteers for corporations who would screw them over in a second.Just like the oh-so-spontaneous tea bagging movement, Rachel Maddow exposes the... more