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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Astroturf campaigning

The men pulling the strings on the Tea Party "uprising" in Wisconsin and across the nation are coming into clearer view -- and to no one's surprise they are right-handed.

The New York Times takes the closest look yet at the furtive Koch Brothers, funders of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Americans for Prosperity, and FreedomWorks, the "grassroots" organization run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey that has been said to be waging a "war against Obama."

At stake? Control of the political dialogue in the states and across the nation. If the secretive brothers succeed in crippling the labor movement, they succeed in crippling the strongest source of people power and money to stand up to their hard right agenda.

The Times story is a solid move away from the sleep-walking reporting to date, typified by an ABC News segment that equated Wisconsin teachers with a Republican Party activist, riding a "grassroots" funded bus to a rally the paled in size to the union effort.

But the mainstream media is still slow in reporting the fact that Wisconsin's labor leaders have already acknowledged a willingness to tighten their belts without abandoning collective bargaining -- and that the Koch-funded Walker is refusing to budget from his union-busting position.

The scenes being played out in Madison are as important to American democracy as those on the streets of Cairo or Tripoli. The Koch-backed Tea Party -- coupled with the fallout from the Supreme Court's Citizens United corporate speech case -- are threatening to overwhelm true voices with paid, phony "astroturf" organizations that claim to represent working men and women.

We need better reporting of those realities than that offered so far by most of the mainstream media.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a blue collar factory worker. If the only way to make the coddled government union employees feel the pain like those in the private sector is to bust them, so be it.

February 22, 2011 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

Hi, Anonymous.
If you are a blue collar factory worker, then what's your name, and where do you work?

Your boss would never fire you for discussing politics on a blog, right?

When you believe what the Republicans tell you about this, they are feeding you lies.
1) The unions are willing to take cuts. They agreed to them in November and this week.
2) The Governer's legislation includes paragraphs give him the power to sell off public power plants without competitive bids, regardless of whether it makes sense for taxpayers.
Walker is not acting in the taxpayers' best interest.

February 22, 2011 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I sit here after just punching in, I blog on my breaks. What's your phone number, I'll give you a call. I beleive what I see also, I have a relative that retired from the state of Mass after 10 years service and gets a pension. Don't beleive that either?

February 23, 2011 4:52 AM  
Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

Factory... It makes sense. That's how the Republicans get the exact same idea mass-produced on all the comments on internet articles & blog posts. Pay some College Republican to punch in at 4:52 AM and Ctrl-V the talking points all morning long...

February 23, 2011 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Break time again. Central Mass multinational, 1000+ employees. Used to be 2500+ until NAFTA. I'm here still because I have 35+ years of seniority. I work 5 - till I go home, if there's overtime I grab it. This year has been great because it's a jobless recovery. We have monthly meetings, management explains profits/losses, our declining benefits, etc. No sense adding workers if the govt makes it so difficult.

February 23, 2011 9:13 AM  

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