Friday, August 14, 2009

Here Comes the Next Astroturf Campaign

The extreme right wing must be fairly happy with their corporate funded Astroturf efforts this year. First special interests helped stir up tea bagging extremists all over the country and now they are sending out crazy mobs to ignore reality and simply shout down any efforts at real health care reform. All yelling and crazy conspiracy theories are welcome and no substance, reality or dialogue is required. The whole point is to push enough right wing extremist buttons and pretend that it is a legitimate grassroots movement. That is why it is appropriately referred to as Astroturf, because it is corporate funded, professionally organized and it is just plain fake.

Now it looks like this same model is going to be picked up and used by the poor neglected billionaires from the big oil industry. An internal memo has reportedly been leaked spelling out the next Astroturf campaign. In the memo, the American Petroleum Institute discusses its plans to help fund and organize what they are calling "Energy Citizen" rallies. The memo spells out how they want to recruit their own employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend such staged events. The memo even states that API is willing to bus company people into key Congressional Districts to help organize and attend such rallies. It appears that they have even taken to hiring a management company that has experience in putting together such Astroturf events. According to the memo, these "Energy Citizen" events are to happen at the end of the August recess and should happen just like the corporate funded tea bagging and the current health care nuttiness.

Basically, this leaked memo just gives us a heads up that Big Oil is now going to do a repeat of what we have already seen (twice now). It will just have a particular focus on their own very narrow interests. More yelling, more misinformation, more screaming, more right wing conspiracy theories, and more Astroturf instead of legitimate grassroots. Instead of telling us that "we don't need no stinking health care reform", this time they will tell us that our addiction to oil, pollution and climate change are actually good for us. Once again there will be the same segment of angry and irrational political losers that will dutifully come and rant on whatever crazy idea that hits their email box next. But hey… they are going to give away hot dogs and soda, so who can blame them!

It never ceases to amaze me how special corporate interests can not only get people to vote against their own best interests but then whip them into an irrational frenzy and cause them to embarrass themselves on national television. For these special interests, it's really about money and power and these mobs of idiots are merely useful tools toward those very narrow ends. How long will these people allow themselves to be used against their own best interests? How long will the media ignore the Astroturf nature of this stuff? Unfortunately it looks like we are going to witness another fake "movement" later this month. I just hope that people will start cutting through the B.S. and planned chaos long enough to see what is really happening here.

UPDATE: And now it begins. WMC and a Republican State Rep start laying the groundwork. Crazed "Energy Citizen" rallies to follow.

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