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06 June 2016

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The Twisted Genius

I have no problem with this ad at all. Looks like it's calling for jobs as grass root campaigners to knock on doors, hand out pamphlets and make phone calls. That is democracy in action. Where are they getting the money? I have no doubt there is Soros or Soros-like money involved. It's certainly not Adelson or the energy industry.

Jack

TTG, Sir

This seems very legal in our Citizens United universe. There's a lot of money sloshing around. Not just from the usual cast of characters like Adelson, Koch, Soros et al but also it seems from foreign sources where its laundered through shells like charitable trusts. With Super PACs it is very hard to know the true backers as they are obscured by several layers.

As we saw with the "mushroom cloud" campaign, these are multi-faceted. PR agencies (e.g: Rendon Group), journalists at "top tier" media outlets (e.g: Judy Miller), shared talking points among broadcast media, etc, etc. Very sophisticated and extensive information operations.

With political campaigns now spanning professional signature gatherers, legal staff, marketing & advertising consultants and PR agencies there is a veritable industry in creating and promoting ballot measures as well as shaping public perceptions. And the big money is just getting started in using this developing infrastructure.

The Twisted Genius

Jack,

Very true. Citizens United is biting Everyone in the ass.

kao_hsien_chih

Jack,

I agree entirely. I am constantly surprised by how sophisticated and well-funded a lot of these "grassroots" groups are on all sides of the political divide, with professional staff of all types and other support provided by varied "nonprofits" with political agendas. I can't say it's not free speech, because it is. I can't say they are somehow "distorting" the "voice of the people" (although it depends on what it means to "distort"--see below.) because there are genuinely a lot of people who are disgusted and horrified at the prospect of Trump presidency (their perspective, not mine.)

One reason I feel uneasy about this is that there is a great potential for abuse here: I used to joke that there are two kinds of Tea Parties. After 2014, I added the qualifier that: "one Tea Party is what Eric Cantor relied on to gain power within the GOP; the other Tea party voted Eric Cantor out of office in the GOP primary." In 2016, I guess, one of them is/was the Ted Cruz Tea Party and the other is the Donald Trump Tea Party. The distinguishing characteristics of the former is that they are ideological conservatives with very well-defined worldviews and policy goals, while the latter is made up of unhappy, underserved, and frustrated voters who do not necessarily have a clearly defined worldview, ideology, or policy positions. In 2010, especially, the former group essentially recruited the latter in pursuit of their political agenda, without much concession except for some angry but rather meaningless rhetoric--although they seem to be paying a much higher price now. Are we seeing the Democratic equivalent of the two Tea Parties today? I wonder if we are: many of the anti-Trump protesters seem to be relatively unsophisticated and their opposition to Trump and/or the Republicans are visceral rather than ideological or policy-based. I don't know if there is Soros type money helping coordinate them the way Adelson or the Kochs funded Tea Party organizations in 2010, but it seems perfectly reasonable to expect that they are. If so, like their Tea Party predecessors, these behind-the-scene activists/organizers might as well as putting words in the protestors' mouths for all we know, even to the point of believing (as the Tea Party funder types apparently did) that they--the funders and protestors--even share the ideologies and policy goals. For all we know, they may well be facing the same reckoning a few years down the line, but I don't think I want to see things actually unfold that way considering the messy path it will have taken.

alba etie

Jack
Its interesting here in Austin we just defeated an Uber sponsored ( they spent 8.2 million dollars and still lost ) attempt to change our local passenger transportation service ordinances-- so that the Uber /Lyft / and other TNC drivers did not have to have to be finger printed and otherwise back ground checked . This is a public safety issue the driver in public conveyance must not be someone who threatens public safety . I and many others I know ; each year of the last thirty odd years have had to get finger prints and back ground checked before the City of Austin would allow us to be permitted either as a taxi drivers or as other livery service professionals .
So Uber and Lyft after we told them to finger print their drivers got mad and left - now we have a non profit Transportation Network Corporation offering the same services as Uber - it is called Austin Ride Share, and all of its drivers will be fingerprinted just like all rests of us. Uber must have not known our last name is Texas , - it only cost them 8.2 million dollars to find that out .. Uber engaged the Come and Take It locals and lost .

steve

I agree. While it's stated in the headline to the article, the ad itself makes no mention of recruiting anti-Trump protesters. As for funding, who knows? As noted by other posters, it could be any of dozens of organizations, from a genuine grassroots outfit to a Hillary Clinton front to an outright scam.

BabelFish

Simple but sophisticated ad to raise further trained cadres of activists. With all that 'dark money' now flowing around, and I never doubted for one minute the democrats wouldn't take advantage of it, who is to know where the money would come from?

steve

Hillary has stated that the money she has received from special interests has not influenced her political positions.

Apparently, she agrees with the majority in Citizens United which said the same thing, that absent a direct quid pro quo corporate cash is fine.

The minority in Citizens United said that the money is inherently corrosive to the process even without a quid pro quo, and that government had the right to regulate it.

Not that I thought that the dems ever genuinely cared about regulating corporate cash since they get a good wad themselves, but it was always a talking point. With Hillary's seeming endorsement, I guess that hypocritical farce will end, maybe.

steveg

TTG
re: Soros or Soros type money.
Had rumors to that effect here in Mpls since last
November when BLM camped out and more or
less blockaded a police precinct for 18 straight
days following a police shooting of a black male
which happened three blocks away. Successive
protests culminated in the temporary closure of
the light rail at the Twins home opener in April.
I happpened to be downtown to crowd watch and
was returning to my car as the protesters, about
30 to 40 formed a circle with placards chanting
slogans. A presumed leader a gray haired ponytail
character lead the chant. All were white. Not a
person of color anywhere. Walking two
blocks away noticed two chartered buses
parked on lower level freeway ramp.
Clearly bought and paid for as most all
arrested 30 minutes later and made
the local news the desired strategy.

kao_hsien_chih

I don't think the troublemakers are necessarily being recruited by "Democrats."

The Tea Party organizers in 2010 were not "Republicans," but conservative activists who wanted to take over the Republican Party. Nor were many of their voters, without whom they could not have gotten as far as they did: they were "Republicans" largely because they could not find a home in the Democratic Party in the last generation or so.

Fast forward to today, the more likely organizers behind these protesters might as well be people who are more "liberal" than Democrat (although what exactly it means for them to be "liberal" does not seem obvious), who are trying to use them as the means to gain power and influence within the Democratic Party in the future, much the way Eric Cantor "Tea Party" did.

HankP

As others have said, this IS Democracy at work post-Citizens United. The money comes from non-profits, PACs, 527 and 501(d) organizations - which in turn are funded by individuals and corporations. When money = speech, this is what you get.

LondonBob

Roger Stone is a long time dirty trickster and believes the money flows from David Brock, George Soros, MoveOn etc.

http://mobile.wnd.com/2016/06/rent-a-mobs-targeting-trump-rallies/#iCjcwL28JztTlXdg.99

Jack

AE

$8.5 million is a drop in the bucket. Uber just raised $3.5 billion from the Saudis. They'll be back. But...no doubt new business models will attempt to upend the old and that will continue as it should.

Right now all these forces are in play as big money gets unleashed with more experience from each election cycle. It's the secrecy of these dark pools and their intentional obfuscation that makes them dangerous.

Erika

If any is curious as to what happened to that youth at the San Jose Trump rally who was being chased here is the video.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/06/witness-white-kid-chased-tackled-trump-rally-beaten-tried-run-mob/

shepherd

Environment America? Seriously? They're a spin off of Ralph Nadar's Public Interest Research Groups. Environmental public advocacy. They do lobbying, letter writing campaigns, all peaceful and legal stuff. They've been around since the 1970s, typically on college campuses, and do not have anything to do with Citizens United and almost zero ability to affect the presidential election.

There's no dark money here. They're a 501c non-profit, and their funding sources are public. That recruitment letter is for student canvassers, not paid protesters. What the kids will find out is that they won't be paid $14.50/hr. Instead they will keep a percentage of their take from knocking on the doors of rich liberals, which will be vastly less, and in some cases nothing at all. They've been pulling that bait-and-switch since I was in college.

turcopolier

shepherd

How much did you make? In this ad they are recruiting paid political campaign employees to do political work against Trump. $14.5/hour? If you hire people to do hourly work for 20 hours a day that would be $290/day, over $2000 a week. Where does a tax free NGO devoted to trees, wild things, etc. get money like that to do political work? And BTW what has Trump done or said that threatens John Muir's legacy? pl

Jack

Amazing that the Borgist publication The Economist has a cover story on PCness and how that is stifling free speech.

http://www.economist.com/printedition/2016-06-04

"The idea has spread that people and groups have a right not to be offended. This may sound innocuous. Politeness is a virtue, after all, but if I have a right not to be offended, that means someone must police what you say about me, or about things I hold dear, such as my ethnic group, religion, or even political beliefs. Since offense is subjective, the power to police is both vast and arbitrary."

BabelFish

I read shepherd's comments below, before answering. If this is a new form of the old Nadar PIRG, I still do not believe that precludes other funding from being present. I agree that these folks are not necessarily 'democrats'. In fact, they seem an upgraded version of ACORN and perhaps as left as that group

Brunswick

Environment America's employee reviews:

https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/Environment-America-Reviews-E236692.htm?&countryRedirect=true

Environment America's wiki,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environment_America

"most" of what the Organization does is "cold call" fund raise, and like "cold call" sales, you need a lot of "doorknockers" and you go through a lot of "churn", as most people can't make the quota and others get disheartened and quit.

der Furour is a flash point, and mentioning him in the ad, will draw in some young, left, environmental footsoldiers to feed that "churn".

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Donald_Trump

As with many of his other political positions, Trump predominantly echo's the right wing CW regarding the Environment, but with vague statements echoing some of the far left ideas.

different clue

alba etie,

I will continue using Real Cab/Car companies until there are no Real Cab/Car companies left to use.

Perhaps Uber will self-destruct before it can destroy a regulated safe industry and climb to profitability on the smoking remains.

different clue

HankP,

When a co-worker debated the rights/wrongs of Citizens United with me and said money is indeed speech and how could I dispute that . . . I noted that
a few rich people and rich organizations/ entities are now able to buy up all the speechfront property and leave nowhere left for the rest of us to speak at all.

Laura

Steve and Twisted...I see this the same way you do. It looks like a typical "ground game" ad looking for people to actually WORK in the campaign. Summer jobs for a lot of students! You can't run a good campaign on volunteers and I don't see anything that says "come and protest" and get paid!

I'm sure all the campaigns are running the same kinds of ads when they have the money and need the help.

Fred

shepherd,

PIRG, (at USF the year I was there before transferring) the group was funded by a mandatory student fee. The two lawyers running the show (husband and wife) made a great living doing virtually nothing. Oh the occasional lobbying trip to Tallahassee and a rah, rah grass roots effort every semester. The main effort was the keep the checks coming from students who didn't think $4 a semester was a big deal. 30,000 students ever spring and fall add up to a fine standard of living without much real work.

Fred

Jack,

There's more going on in the left:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/06/clinton-loyalist-autclinton-loyalist-authoritarianism-brad-delong-threatens.html

Kassandra

Astroturfing is a very established and professional practice inside the beltway. I witnessed the way the Proposition 187 campaign in California was promoted and executed. It's an entire industry managing 'democracy' via PR mercenaries, and there are big money funds flowing.

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