As·tro·Turf // (ās’trō-tûrf’)
2) Describes formal political, advertising, or public relations campaigns seeking to create the impression of being spontaneous “grassroots” behavior, hence the reference to the artificial grass.
Once upon a time, you were able to tell the underdogs apart from The Man. The underdogs were the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the working and jobless poor; The Man was the douchebag at the gold course who earned 400 times what you did by exploiting underdogs. The underdogs fought the system; The Man was the system. The underdogs organized grassroots campaigns to fight the system; The Man spent millions of corporate dollars in ad campaigns on television and in print to keep you misinformed. The underdogs went door to door; the Man sent you glossy, professionally designed campaign flyers. The point of a grassroots campaign was that it was the people getting directly involved in politics to affect social change; the point of Astroturfing is to gain your sympathies by making you think they’re a grassroots campaign and not a corporate-sponsored propaganda being staged by – you guessed it – The Man.
But The Man has far too much at stake to let the people really speak for themselves. That’s why they only pick the cream of the crop, by which I mean they find the biggest idiots they can and put them on the front lines to speak on their behalf. This health care reform bill has brought the lunatics out in a big way – conspiracy nuts, Ditto-heads, racists, gun nuts, and other ignoramuses (sometimes they’re all one and the same). They gather ignorant fucks from around the country to become their foot soldiers, lobbying on behalf of the very corporations trying to ensure that the public’s needs come second to their own; these dupes protest against their own self-interest. What you thought were people protesting the public option were actually unwitting representatives of big insurance companies – bought and paid for with their (our) dollars.
When you have to lie to people to get your agenda pushed through, you demonstrate that your agenda will not stand on its own merits. Astroturfing is dishonest to its core, but the protesters don’t seem to know that. It is a form of lying to the public because it’s corporations pretending that they ARE the public. For that, corporations who astroturf automatically lose the moral high ground; they have no right to pretend they speak for us when they spend so much money trying to screw us. It’s like greenwashing, in that rather than doing something in the public’s interest, they are simply making it seem as if they are. Perhaps instead of being concerned about how they look, they ought to be concerned about how they act.
Astroturf is a good product; when you can’t play on grass because the weather in your home state is inhospitable to grass, you get Astroturf. You can play on it year round and doesn’t require the environmentally unfriendly practice of having to water 6,396 square feet of it every couple days. It looks greener, too. But some of the things that make Astroturf great are the same things that make astroturfing bad. It’s fake, synthetic, plastic, the product of a corporation and not of nature. Astroturf may look greener, but it will never replicate the natural variety, color, and texture, of real grass.
Astroturfing has a long history; it didn’t start with town halls and it won’t stop there either. Oil companies are doing it, too…
Check out Maddow’s exposee on Recess Rally (the health care reform protesters)
…and another one. God Bless Rachel Maddow for being the only one calling out these dickwads and naming names.
Finally – the White House stepping up to the bullshit – http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/settingtherecord
Nowadays I’m wondering to myself, “if they hate the public option so much, the loud, obnoxious geezers protesting public health insurance better not be on Medicare”. If these astroturf imbeciles suffer a heart attack on the way to a town hall rally to disrupt the talks with their ignorant psychobabble-onian bullshit, they really better just lie there and die.
I’m bout to drop a little knowledge that might – or might not – come as a shock to the ignorant fucks protesting health care reform. In fact, let me put this in its own paragraph just so the idiots amongst us can really get the picture:
43 MILLION AMERICANS ARE ALREADY COVERED UNDER A SINGLE PAYER PUBLIC OPTION. IT’S CALLED MEDICARE. YOU IGNORANT, REPUBLICAN FUCKS.
Medicare is less expensive than private insurance and provides better coverage, only it does it for old people. Which brings me to my next point:
MEDICARE HAS NO DEATH PANELS. THERE IS NO MANDATORY EUTHANASIA FOR OLD PEOPLE. YOU IGNORANT, REPUBLICAN FUCKTARDS.
Most people on Medicare seem to be happy with it. I really do not see a downside to expanding it to apply to all Americans. Especially considering that…
IT’S CHEAPER THAN WHAT WE WOULD PAY FOR PRIVATE INSURANCE. YOU SIMPLE ASS, IGNORANT, REPUBLICAN FUCKTARDS.
The reforms would prohibit private insurance companies from rationing health care, or denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. In other words…
THERE IS NO RATIONING OF CARE – REFORM WILL STOP RATIONING, NOT INCREASE IT. YOU SIMPLE ASS, IGNORANT, CORPORATE-DOUCHE-BAG-DEFENDING, REPUBLICAN FUCKTARDS.
And one more thing:
THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT TAKE-OVER OF HEALTH CARE. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE. MORONS.
Why is it wrong that a majority of Americans would prefer to cut the middleman out and take control of our own health care? How can conservatives concerned about waste oppose this? These are the fundamental question at the heart of health care reform. Forget about Obama trying to kill your grandma; it’s bullshit. “Death panels” are bullshit. Forget about the buzz words. Forget about the loud, obnoxious cuss words from cantankerous bloggers and the old farts who are sabotaging the discourse over a public option that many of them are already beneficiaries of.
The Republican party opposes this plan simply as a political move. They know Medicare works, so they know better than to mouth off with all that “death panel wants to kill your grandma” bullshit. Their lies are blatant. What they want is to weaken Obama. It’s not even a conspiracy; it’s on the public record. A congressman was even quoted as saying so. But if I wrote a blog about that, it would only encourage the Republicans among us to fight the public option even more. See, they’re not the most mature bunch; they would protest a plan that works in their own best interest just to see Obama fail. It’s snot-nosed child shit. But maybe, if I appeal to reason, they might come around on this. Or not. To tell you the truth, I’m not really banking on the dumb fucks. I’ve come to accept that logic really does not work on them, or it would have succeeded a long time ago. They are eternally the foot soldiers of the corporations, never really knowing who or what they’re working for, never knowing that they’re working against their own interests. They’re lost.
But to the rest of you, maybe you’re on the fence about the public option. You’re smart, but maybe you don’t have all the facts. I hope you take a better look. Google this shit. Don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. You will find no death panels, no government take over of health care, and no conspiracy to kill old people (seriously…what the fuck?). What you will find is Medicare for all. A public option, belonging to you and me. At the end of the day, what corporate interests in the insurance industry are trying to do is prevent us from having their own say in health insurance. It’s no different than if I gathered a group of 10 people and told everyone to chip in so we could pay our own insurance. I do not see how that has become a bad thing. It’s the only option that empowers us to pool our resources so that we can cover our own asses – like our grandparents already do under Medicare. These cynical fucks talk about choice, but insurance companies don’t want us to have that choice. I say, fuck em. You know what to do.
There exist a few kinds of conservative in the United States. First and foremost, it should be noted that the first group I’m going to mention don’t consider themselves conservative at all; instead, they consider themselves true liberals. These are the libertarians. Social freedom, as well as economic freedom are the main tenets of their ideology. They claim to be the ideological heirs of the Age of Enlightenment, and as such many (but by no means all) libertarians, men such as Penn Jillette and Christopher Hitchens, consider themselves hardened realists (i.e., atheists) and even more hardened believers in the free market. The first tenet seems to be optional; indeed while many libertarians are free thinkers, skeptics, and men of science and reason, many others also happen to be religious. The second tenet, that of economic freedom, however, seems to be a must for anyone who labels themselves a libertarian. You see, that’s because to libertarians, free people are almost absolutely free. It means as few laws as possible, both in our social lives and our economy; no distinction is made between society and economics.
Which brings me to the second group of conservatives, the ones we all know as Republicans. They’re libertarians with a twist: they also happen to be deeply religious and comfortable with establishing rules that govern your private life. They tend to appeal to religious sensibilities. What they do retain from libertarian philosophy is a rabid dedication to fiscal conservatism which, I hope I don’t have to explain, is really another name for free market capitalism. Remember, libertarians really stress the “free” in free market. In the economic sense at least, Republicans are very liberal. In fact, they’re sometimes considered “neoliberals”. This is why Bush wasn’t really lying when he said he wanted to promote “freedom” in the Middle East; by freedom he didn’t mean freedom from the bonds and shackles of their royal overlords – such as those who rule over our ally Saudi Arabia – rather the freedom of corporations to do business however they see fit, free from laws and regulations, unaccountable to the people. Of course, they had many of us believing the former, stressing the latter very little, if at all. That’s because if the people were really told about our true intentions in Iraq, nobody would go for it. And that’s because I believe that at the end of the day we really are an altruistic people; we were told we went in to “free” the people of Iraq (OK, so it was after we were told that we went in to eliminate nuclear weapons and that Saddam and Bin Laden were butt-buddies). That’s why Republicans need religion; I believe that if people were told the truth about who profits from free market capitalism and who gets the shit end of the shit stick, none of their ideas would ever fly with the American people. Why else do you think they have to lie to you? You know something is wrong when millions of corporate dollars are funneled into free market think tanks to promote an economic system that goes against both your own economic interests and your very human sense of altruism. And, somehow, it’s working. A large, overwhelming chunk of Republicans are people of faith, and yet they believe in an economic philosophy that finds itself at odds with the altruistic principles of their faith. Christianity is utterly incompatible with a capitalist worldview…but Republicans somehow make it work. Some do so by shortchanging the Christianity. Once again, it’s telling that when it comes down to your social values vs. your economic values, some go with the money. Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, seems like a good man; if I ever meet him I’m going to ask him how he reconciles these two opposing ideas. With apologies to Huckabee, I believe many Republicans posing as Christians would do better to ditch their religion and embrace their greed; at least then they wouldn’t be hypocrites. Their adherence to moral religious principles tends to be little more than a veil. Real libertarians adhere to principles of social freedom, which if followed means having no sexual hang ups or hatred for homosexuals; in this country, Republicans constantly demonize gays only to be themselves discovered hiding in the closet…along with many other skeletons.
According to Ayn Rand, the core of her libertarian principles is called “ethical egoism”. I prefer to call it “egotism” myself. To put it bluntly, it’s about selfishness and greed, living for self and nobody else. An economist by the name of Milton Friedman would go on to elevate this human trait into something wonderful – kinda like how an Aztec priest by the name of Tlacaelel elevated the bloodthirsty practice of human sacrifice into something good, even necessary, for the survival of the world. Greed all of a sudden became something good, an engine for running a fair and just system. The irony of the libertarians is that for people who prize reason, they cling to the irrational belief in an invisible hand that guides the economic world, and that if people just let it be that everything would fall harmoniously into place and everybody would be rich and prosperous and well fed and free. Except that’s not what happens under a free market economy. If you want to see what an economy free from restrictions looks like, look at Iraq.
In this country, neither the Democratic party nor the Republican party represent pure libertarianism, but when asked to choose between the party that (supposedly) promotes social justice (Democrats) and those that promote laizzez faire capitalism (Republicans), money seems to be the deciding factor – most libertarians go with the guy promising less taxes instead of the guy promising gay rights, legalization of marijuana…except that Democrats don’t do that, either. And here I always though that “Blue Dog” Democrats were more in line with libertarian principles than Republicans.
Which finally brings me to the “conservative church”, the third type of conservative. I respect libertarians because they are open to reason; I respect real Republicans because they are altruistic people. I can find common ground with either of them. If I can make a good case for promoting a more fair economy, I might be able to debate a libertarian. If I can appeal to a Republican’s religious sense of kindness and charity, I can see eye to eye with them. What I can’t do is talk to anybody who is a member of the conservative church. These people are the fundamentalist of their “religion” – and believe me, it really is a religion. They combine the most exaggerated and worst aspects of both of the aforementioned philosophies – the greed and self-centered philosophy of the libertarians, and the rabid religious fervor of the worst Republican Christians; in fact, they ARE the worst Republicans. Gone is the reason of a libertarian like James Randi; gone, the compassion of a Christian like Mike Huckabee. In their place, the ignorant, jingoistic, racist, and most vile members of the human species. I call it a church, because they are dogmatic in their beliefs, closed to all appeals to reason and logic; you can not win a debate with a fundamentalist in this church. The following are just a sample of their latest beliefs: Obama was actually born in Kenya; Obama is a socialist; health care reform is about building death panels for you grandma. Their greatest hits: Obama is a Muslim; Obama is the Anti-Christ; John Kerry was a coward, gays will burn in Hell; Mexicans should go back where they came from; Saddam has WMDs; Saddam planned 9/11; evolution is “just a theory”. Their clergy are the fat, loud, obnoxious hypocrites on Fox News and just about all of talk radio; their pope is Rush Limbaugh. Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingram are the unholy trinity, each a grotesque inversion of the holy Virgin Mary (though it should be noted that I don’t consider any of them their equivalent of the Virgin Mary; that role belongs to Ronald Reagan). Their clergy preach from on high to an audience of stupid, unquestioning hillbillies who go on to do stupid shit like disrupting town hall meetings, hanging congressmen in effigy, or shooting abortion doctors.
In recent days, members of the Conservative Church have become increasingly visible. It’s no surprise; haven’t you heard that we recently elected the Anti-Christ? For months people had been talking about the death of the Republican party. What they should have been talking about was the renaissance of stupid. The Conservative Church never died; it got angrier and mobilized, fueled by corporate dollars and by think tanks that they don’t even know exist. They don’t know about the Cato Institute and that they’re funded by the richest corporations to promote an economic system that rips them off; all they know are the ads and the literature they put out (Not that they read the literature themselves; Fox News does all their reading for them). They don’t know that beneficiaries of the largest health and pharmaceutical companies are funding Recess Rally; all they know is that Obama is a socialist who wants to kill your grandmother. In short, Bill Maher is absolutely right.
I’ve just dedicated a massive amount of text to conservatives, now a word to the rest of you. To those of you who believe in social and economic justice – make no apologies for it. You have the moral high ground against the vicious fundamentalists of the Conservative Church. You also have the facts on your side, so that no amount of Faux News propaganda can sway your judgment. You are the reasoned intellectuals of the Enlightenment and the compassionate followers of God. You are progressives.
I knew just by reading the headline that this was about a Republican. OK, and the Keith Olbermann “Worst Persons in the World” headline tipped me off, too.
Seriously, at this point when you say some shit like this, the little (R) next to your name should be redundant. Is it safe to say at this point that Republicans own the monopoly on powerful stupid? Sylvia Allen is not even close to being in the minority within her own party; these are the intelligent design, “gay is a sin”, “global warming is a hoax” crew – and don’t even get me started on the people who vote for them. My apologies to intelligent Southerners out there, but you’re surrounded by morons and they’re ruining our country. Also, can we stop pretending that they’re the party of family values when the list of their sex scandals dwarf those of the Democrats? If you think I’m painting conservatives with broad, unfair generalizations, well, they’ve got the monopoly on that, too. Ever heard of the phrase “liberal elitists”? As if all liberals were elitists. Elite in what sense? Financial? Educational? Olympic?
I swear, these rants are good for my brain. This rant brought to you by Xyience Energy Drinks.*