astroturf

Mon, 2010-04-12 12:17Brendan DeMelle
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Tax Day Tea Party Features Lord “Hitler Youth” Monckton and Cast of Koch Industries’ Favorites

Lord Christopher Monckton, infamous for his “Hitler Youth” comments at the Copenhagen climate summit, is among the guest speakers at this week’s Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, DC.  Organized by FreedomWorks, the sister organization of Americans for Prosperity, the Tax Day Tea Party at the Washington Monument will also feature appearances from FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey and President Matt Kibbe, right wing publisher Andrew Breitbart, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

With a cast of characters this deep, sparks are sure to fly.

Lord Monckton has continued the crazed rampage he started at the Americans For Prosperity event at the Copenhagen climate summit, where he repeatedly called American college students advocating for clean energy the “Hitler Youth” and “Nazis.” Monckton took it way too far when he told Jewish student Ben Wessel, whose grandparents escaped the Holocaust, “I am not going to shake the hand of Hitler youth.” 
Despite extensive video evidence, Monckton went on to lie to the Associated Press, claiming that he never uttered those words.  More recently, Monckton called President Obama a “monster” during his speech at a GOP fundraiser in Wisconsin, which followed another of his paid appearances for Americans for Prosperity.

Thu, 2010-03-11 14:20Brendan DeMelle
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Senators Meet With Polluter Lobbyists To Discuss 'Green Economy’ Bill

Senators working to craft legislation to transition the U.S. economy to cleaner energy and provide green jobs for Americans have a critical task ahead of them.  The U.S. economy is lagging due to an addiction to foreign sources of dirty energy, among other reasons.  Leaders from government, the private sector and even the Pentagon acknowledge the need to move rapidly towards a clean energy future that provides good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. 

Which begs the question: Why are the Senators working on this critical legislative effort spending so much time and energy negotiating with lobbyists for the dirty energy industry – the very sector that is largely responsible for our addiction to foreign oil and filthy coal and outsourced jobs?

Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman – who are spearheading the new green economy legislation – met today with a gaggle of lobbyists and front groups representing the carbon club.

E&E News reports that:
A cross section of industry power players met this afternoon in the Capitol with Kerry, Graham and Lieberman. Groups represented at the meeting included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, Farm Bureau, American Forest and Paper Association, American Railroads, National Electric Manufacturers Association and Portland Cement Association.

Fri, 2010-02-05 12:19Brendan DeMelle
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ACCCE Hires New PR Firm With Bush Ties To Push Coal

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has hired two new public relations firms to hock its message in the wake of the disastrous job done by Bonner & Associates. 

ACCCE has retained HDMK, a PR firm with very strong ties to former President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, to manage its national media efforts, while Dan Ronayne, a managing director of the Howard Consulting Group, was retained to work with regional reporters.

HDMK is run by Terry Holt, the national campaign spokesperson for George W. Bush in the 2004 election and the former spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner.  Other HDMK partners include Trent Duffy, a former deputy press secretary to President George W. Bush, Jim Morrell, former deputy chief of staff to the House Republican Conference and a speechwriter for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Chad Kolton, another long-time Republican communications operative who served in the Bush administration as press secretary at the OMB and FEMA.

Sun, 2009-12-13 04:26Richard Littlemore
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Astroturf: Health Insurers Caught Paying off Facebook Users

This is not related to climate denial, except to the degree that slippery corporate disinformation is contagious, but health insurers have been caught paying off Facebook users to write letters to Congress opposing health care reform.

As reported in the Business Insider, a consortium of health insurers, collected under the group Get Health Reform Right, are paying Facebook users “virtual currency” - which is useful in Facebook games like “FarmVille,” “Mafia Wars” and “Friends For Sale” - in return for those users to fill out a questionaire. And when they do so, the program automatically kicks out a letter to Congress.

The system dupes the user and deceives Congress - it piles lies on lies and it should be illegal, because the more we tolerate this kind of dishonest corporate manipulation of the public conversation and the democratic process, the harder it will be to deal effectively with issues like health care and climate change.

Mon, 2009-11-30 19:54Jim Hoggan
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Who’s Killing the Copenhagen Climate Treaty? The Chamber of Commerce

us chmaber of commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already done everything it can to kill the chances of a legally binding agreement emerging from the Copenhagen climate change summit.

Now it can sit back, relax and watch the action from a coffee shop outside the United Nations conference, content that its efforts to derail U.S. climate policy have effectively hamstrung the international negotiations.

As explained clearly in “The Global Climate Change Lobby,” an excellent new report from the Center for Public Integrity, corporate lobbyists and trade associations focus their attention on tampering with domestic legislative efforts, and then stand by and watch as their positions and talking points contaminate international negotiations indirectly.

Business interests (or BINGOs as they’re called in U.N. speak) “can have very little effect at these meetings,” according to Nick Campbell, a European industry lobbyist who has represented the International Chamber of Commerce at U.N. climate talks since the early 1990s when the global effort to fight climate change began with the Rio Earth Summit.

If the Chamber or other lobbying groups send any staff to international summits like the upcoming Copenhagen conference, their goal is to “loiter” in the coffee shops and collect business cards from delegates they can target later on legislative matters back home.

Tue, 2009-10-13 13:24Brendan DeMelle
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House Committee Hearing To Investigate Coal Lobby’s Fraudulent Letters to Congress

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is holding an investigative hearing on Thursday to further probe fraudulent letters sent to Congress by the coal industry’s public relations machine in an effort to derail clean energy and climate legislation.

The committee, chaired by Rep.  Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), has uncovered more than a dozen fraudulent letters sent to several members of Congress by Astroturf specialists Bonner & Associates, who were operating under contract for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

Markey’s committee hearing will feature some of the central figures in the controversy, including victims of the fraud.  DeSmogBlog has written extensively on Bonner’s Astroturf work for ACCCE, documenting the disgraced D.C. firm’s attempts to derail passage of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill.  Fraudulent letters originating from Bonner’s office were sent on behalf of groups representing senior citizens, women, minorities and veterans in a repugnant scam.

Beyond exploring the specific evidence of Bonner’s fraud on Congress at the behest of the coal industry, the hearing will look generally at the practice of Astroturf, a vile public relations tactic sullying current debates over health care and energy legislation.  Industry-funded Astroturf involves the creation of a false appearance of actual grassroots support – often orchestrated by former tobacco lobbyists and fossil fuel industry apologists.

Thu, 2009-09-03 16:31Mitchell Anderson
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Astroturf-Busting Hotline Launched

Groups Seek New Evidence in Bonner Scandal

A coalition of groups, including some that were impersonated by coal lobbyists fighting against U.S. climate change legislation, have banded together in search of further evidence of wrongdoing in the ballooning fraudulent letter scandal.

Five prominent non-profits have launched the “Polluter Fraud Hotline” (1-866-363-4648), inviting average citizens or industry insiders to blow the whistle on any deceptive or illegal tactics that big polluters and their lobbyists are using in opposition to clean energy legislation.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), National Wildlife Federation, NAACP, and Center for American Progress Action Fund and Sierra Club are also calling for Congressional action to ensure that this type of orchestrated deception of elected lawmakers never happens again.

Fri, 2009-08-28 16:06Jim Hoggan
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Astroturf attack on democracy is intentional - and should be illegal

Adfero and Bonner’s actions are planned and deliberate

You can’t convict someone of a crime unless you can prove that the accused was acting with intent - that they did what they did on purpose. By that standard, Astroturfing specialists at the Washington, D.C., PR firms Adfero Group and Bonner & Associates have demonstrated that they are guilty, even if what they are doing is - at this point - not technically a crime.

It should be. Because the Astroturfers are subverting democracy. By their own description, the firms are holding the U.S. democratic system up for sale. They’re using the old totalitarian tactic of gathering rent-a-crowds to push around politician. And, as Bonner boasts on its own website, they are doing it in a way that that gives them a specific advantage over lobbyists who, thanks to good legislation, would have to declare who was paying their bills.

 

Tue, 2009-08-18 18:21Richard Littlemore
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DCI: Tobacco PR firm creates fake health care group

DCI Group, a PR firm that got its start by creating phony grassroots organizations on behalf of big tobacco, has been outed by ThinkProgress as the  firm behind the new anti-health care Astroturf group, the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights (Infamous Astroturf Lobbying Firm Behind New Anti-Health Reform Group).

DeSmog readers might remember DCI from a sleazy set-up job in 2006, when the firm created a YouTube video attacking Al Gore and then posted it claiming that it was the work of an independent 29-year-old. ThinkProgress also itemizes some of DCI’s other adventures, many of which also involve setting up fake “grassroots” organizations that do the bidding of DCI’s big-budget clients.

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