Nancy and the Astroturfers
Denver Colorado, August 6 2009 – by EL MARCO
This was the scene when I arrived at Stout Street Clinic in downtown Denver. Nancy Pelosi is to pay a visit to the clinic within the hour. About 200 people opposed to Obama’s healthcare agenda braved the mile high Denver sun and high temperatures to show their opposition. Their signs indicate that they are well aware that they have been vilified and targeted in an Oval Office astroturfing campaign designed to discredit their opposition.
First let’s look at the messages and faces of these hardy dissenters. Take a close look so you can compare them to the community organizers who will soon enter the scene and harass them. These citizens have been described by the Democratic National Committee in an ad as “angry mobs organized by desperate Republicans and their well funded allies.”
The Democrat party that funneled billions in the stimulus package to ACORN community organizers to organize, protest and agitate, this same party is now livid that private citizens attend townhall meetings.
These protesters told me that they pay their own way and question what the government is attempting to do to their health care.
“When asked by a reporter whether the protests at various town-hall meetings represented legitimate grassroots opposition or were manufactured “AstroTurf” stunts, Nancy Pelosi replied, ‘I think they’re AstroTurf. You be the judge. They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.'” – Jonah Goldberg
Commonly at the tea parties and anti-big government protests hammers and sickles are used to protest democrat policies. The Democrat Party doesn’t seem to have a problem with wall to wall hammers and sickles and has never complained publicly. Maybe they think it’s a compliment? I find that interesting and very telling.
“Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Boxer insists the protests have to be fake because the protesters are too “well-dressed.” Likewise, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says this is all “manufactured anger” because the protesters — he calls them the “Brooks Brothers Brigade” — are too tastefully appointed to be authentic protesters. Apparently only filthy hippies can petition government.” – Jonah Goldberg
I don’t see swastikas or Brooks Brothers suits, but a few American flags and a lot of hand made, home made signs.
“The DNC has put out an ad claiming that the “right-wing extremist base” is out to “destroy” Barack Obama, so it has unleashed “angry mobs . . . mob activity straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives. They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they’ve called out the mob.’ ”
The DNC ad points to a memo written by an activist named Bob MacGuffie as proof that Republican political ops are pulling the strings. It turns out that MacGuffie, a decent-seeming fellow, is a rank amateur whose Right Principles PAC has collected a mere $5,017 and disbursed the staggering sum of $1,777, and has 23 members on Facebook and five followers on Twitter, according to The Weekly Standard’s Mary Katharine Ham.” – J. Goldberg
“The reason for the panic is simple. Obama and the Democrats feel entitled to have their way on health care. This sense of entitlement is understandable. They won the election and control everything.
The problem is that Americans don’t like what they’ve heard about the plan, and Obama is incapable of selling, or unwilling to sell, it on the merits (perhaps because he knows the plan will lead to the single-payer system he has long sought but now denies wanting). That’s why Obama spends most of his time either attacking critics or denouncing the status quo.” – J. Goldberg
“Simply put: This administration believes it knows best. It feels it is the only legitimate beneficiary of “people power.” It thinks it has a monopoly on democratic organizing. And it is terrified that it will be hobbled if it loses this fight.
So, it just stands to reason that anyone who stands in the way must be a fraud, a puppet, a goon — or even a Nazi.” – J Goldberg
After I was on the scene for about 15 minutes I got a call from one of my location scouts. “Hey, you gotta come down by the alley here. A bunch of Obama people just showed up.”
I walked over to the far corner of the clinic and sure enough, freshly minted Obama supporters had arrived on the scene.
Note the wire lawn sign hardware left over from Obama’s Presidential campaign. These people were organized by the ArapaHope Community Team (A.C.T.)
An email circulated the day before by the local Democrat Party urged activists to come out to this event, and another one later that same day, claimed that “rich special interests” would be bussing “Teabaggers” there. Teabaggers is an obscure homocentric term that has been made a household word by the Democrat party. Tea Party participants are people who identify with that patriotic tax revolt of 1773. The Democrats’ reference to them as “Teabaggers” is a horribly crude example of how the left coarsens our public discourse.
“I hope that our work together on the Obama campaign was only the beginning. I want to say that we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with – and carve a niche within the politics of our community to make way for our collective voices to be heard.” – Donna Galassi of A.C.T. (community organizer)
Soon more astroturfazoids began insinuating themselves into my photographs. Here I asked people to pose for me and the ‘zoids barged in. Like characters from Shawn of the dead they just kept appearing in my viewfinder.
Here it happened again. While my subject, on the left, had his sign at chest level, I had to ask him step back and lift it up after the astrozoids barged in. This is obviously part of the instructions and strategy from on high. Disrupt protesters and dominate media coverage. “Go for the cameras”.
More arrived on the scene. Many seemed to come out of the alley, and apparently, out of the back door of the clinic like angry wasps who think their nest is under attack when an innocent passerby brushes up against it.
Typically, these three media photographers fawned over the left wing Turfers. Their numbers are now reaching their peak, which I estimate at 20 % of the total crowd. For 200 tea partiers, there were about 40 Democrat party Astroturfese.
Here is an organizer from Organizing for America, which is the successor organization to Obama for America, which was Obama’s campaign organization. The organizer is demonstrating the use of a bullhorn to a man who appears totally unfamiliar with its use. For a grassroots campaign, this sure is organized!
I thought this a very interesting scene. Here’s a real live “community organizer” in action. He’s organizing this guy and he’s going to send him out to shout down people who are dissenting from the Democrat Party line. The fellow seemed reluctant and as it turns out after a few minutes the organizer retrieved his bullhorn and started using it himself.
Organizing for America’s (OFA) web site presents “grassroots” as a government organized activity.
From OFA’s web site: …”There are many ways to get involved:
- Joining grassroots OFA campaigns to support the President’s agenda. Online, on the phone, on doorsteps and in town halls in communities across the country, we’re building the bottom-up support that makes real change possible.
- Spreading the word to friends and neighbors about the President’s approach on the big issues facing our nation, like health care, energy and education. Nothing is more powerful than your voice in your community.
- Connecting with other supporters to form strong local groups, ready to take on whatever challenges we face.
- Supporting leaders who share our values and are ready to carry forward the fight for change .”
This is the first time in my life that I can recall a government in North America organizing protests of one group of citizens against another. This is standard operating procedure in countries with left-wing governments.
This clinic is adjacent to Denver’s day laborer pickup street, Park Avenue. Being fluent in Spanish, El Marco asked these guys “¿hablan ingles?” “casi nada” was the reply from our amigo on the left. I asked him if he could tell me what the signs said. “¿Quien sabe?” (who knows?) was all he said to me, with a big grin. I’m kicking myself for not asking them how much they were getting paid to be part of Americas grassroots.
The irony of their lack of comprehension of the signs they were holding was heightened by the fact that they were the most elaborate and detailed signs of either group.
While snapping this shot, I inadvertently caught a glimpse of another organizer entering from the left with a ream of colored signs. Behind her walks a young girl dressed as a puppet complete with strings.
Their mime style appeared familiar to me as one taught by the San Francisco Mime Troupe. This protest style has been a standard in America since the ’60s and workshops are taught each year to activists in the U.S. and in developing countries. The SFMT is a hard core stalinist organization. You can visit their web site if you want to sign up for training. They teach special courses for kids at their summer camp too. The SFMT has an extremely influential history and has caused incalculable damage to America. Click link at end of this essay to learn about them.
Here comes our community organizer with his bullhorn. For the next half hour or more, he will chant “FREE HEALTH CARE NOW”, “YES WE CAN” etc. with his horn directed at the faces of the health care dissenters.
During the election, on September 17, 2008, at a campaign stop in Nevada, Obama said “I want you to argue with them (neighbors) and get in their face”.
What we see here is “astroturfing” or manufactured fake grassroots. The dissenters are genuinely concerned and informed about their health care but they maintain their civility. The DNC knows their anger is real and they are desperately trying to deligitimize dissent by claiming it’s paid for “by insurance corporations” yet they don’t name a single one or provide evidence.
It’s David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, who is famous for perfecting AstroTurfing.
This woman worked in tandem with the other organizer and blasted the same people from behind. These bullhorns are extremely powerful. I saw demonstrators repeatedly ask them to point their bullhorns away. This woman in particular responded by moving the bullhorn closer to a woman who complained of ear pain.
Obama, on March 18, said “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry. What I want us to do, though, is channel our anger in a constructive way. “
At that time, he wanted people protesting in the front yards of AIG executives. Now the DNC has ordered this harassment of grassroots dissenters against their statist goals. While in other parts of the country, this Democrat Party activity has descended into violence, what we have seen so far here today is only annoying and childish behavior.
It’s David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor, who is famous for perfecting astroturfing. Now he is using the same techniques he deployed for corporations to intimidate political freedom in this country. Here is an article about Axelrod and his companies if you want to study up.
I wanted to get away from the bullhorns so I walked around the corner and found a large group of protesters awaiting the arrival of Nancy Pelosi at the back of the Stout Street Clinic. No bullhorns, no astroturfers.
Within a few moments, Madame Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, arrived for her tour of the homeless medical outreach facility.
Surrounded by secret service and staffers, Mrs. Pelosi enters the back door.
The crowd surges forward. This is the big moment everyone has come for but Mrs. Pelosi disappears in a flash.
So far the astroturfers are on the other side of the building and are missing all the action. They’re still holding on to their hard-won turf out front, having chased these people away with their bullhorns.
A few minutes later the first astroturfers appear amongst the protesters.
They push their way to the front, in an attempt to dominate the scene and possibly catch a glimpse of Nancy.
I stepped back for a wider view and this is what it looked like.
A rather flustered organizer, late on the scene, tries to do catch-up with a rousing series of in your face rants.
Rubber chicken lady has had about enough of him as she gently tries to muffle his noise machine. Now we can actually all say we’ve seen a rubber chicken fly.
Here we see a space opened by protesters retreating from the bullhorn. Ear-splitting and painful for my sensitive hearing. Turfazoids fill the void as they follow twitter for instructions. Note man on left has two PDA’s.
Organizers marveling at their handiwork from the sidelines?
Here’s one of the signs brought by puppet lady. The same man (previous pic) in the background is wearing a Laborers Union Local 720 Denver shirt. He appeared to be quite active but never touching a sign himself.
Another sign by puppet lady.
Take note of the lady on the right. She is holding a sign that reads “Pants on Fire” with Pelosi’s image. The image is repeated three times on her sign. There are no other words. I left the event early but the photo below, from the Denver Post, shows what I missed. The astrozoid on the left below, with the HOPE T-shirt, decided that she didn’t like the Nancy Pants on Fire sign. Not a problem. Just grab it.
The woman in black struggles to maintain her free speech while calling for help from police nearby.
The Denver Post caption described it like this:
“A supporter of health care reform, left, who did not want to give her name, pushes forward to rip a sign out of Kris McLay’s hands outside the Stout Street Clinic visited by Nancy Pelosi.” (THE DENVER POST | RJ SANGOSTI)
This is Laura Avant. She has a degree in social working science, is a substitute teacher, and has been unemployed for seven years. She is taking names for a petition and when I asked her how she found out about the event she said “My organizer called me.” I said “You’re kidding.” She said, “No, look: he’s right there -pointing to the guy with the bullhorn – he’s from Organizing for America.”
It seems odd to me, as a foreigner, that democrats use Abe Lincoln and Dr.King in their propaganda (shirt above), when both men were Republicans assassinated by democrats. Many forget how Republican Abraham Lincoln’s ill-advised choice of a Democrat as a running mate in 1864 gave John Wilkes Booth a good excuse to assassinate him. Upon assuming the presidency, Andrew Johnson immediately began doing his best to ruin the Reconstruction effort by vetoing the Civil Rights Act and by repealing the Freedmen’s Bureau legislation guaranteeing each ex-slave 40 acres and a mule. James Earl Ray, a Democrat, was also inspired by the Democrat’s racist philosophy and rhetoric to kill Dr. M. L. King.
At this point, a number of the astroturfers departed, including Laura. She told me that transportation was waiting to take them to Nancy Pelosi’s next event at Highlands Ranch.
Take special note of man behind/left of Ms. Avant (above) . I noticed him repeatedly approaching an anti-debt protester from behind and whispering in her ear (below). He got her worked up into such a lather that I was afraid she was going to have a stroke. The police were nearby, but due to his smooth behavior it was not obvious that he was involved in the commotion. I observed him 3 times approach slowly from behind, whisper, and withdraw delighted. I asked her what he said and she told me he was saying something about fascism. Was this woman intimidated? She was shaking like a leaf.
She also told me that she and her spouse own a topographic map Co. that has had to lay off workers due to plummeting sales. “We will have no income to pay taxes on” she said.
These two were taking a break while they waited for Nancy to emerge in her SUV. It’s nice when Democrats spend time with their children.
They say “never judge a book by its cover” so I asked the kid with the commie T-shirt which side of the issue he is on. “100% free health care for everyone.” was the answer I got.
“The Senate’s most powerful Democrat on Thursday scolded health care protesters dogging his party’s lawmakers at local meetings, arguing that some critics on the political right have run out of ideas—and ditched their civic manners. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada accused the protesters of trying to “sabotage” the democratic process.
The Republican Party says it’s not behind the protests, but Reid scoffed at the notion that the protesters reflect grass-roots sentiment. He held up a piece of artificial turf during a session with reporters.
“These are nothing more than destructive efforts to interrupt a debate that we should have, and are having,” Reid said. “They are doing this because they don’t have any better ideas. They have no interest in letting the negotiators, even though few in number, negotiate. It’s really simple: they’re taking their cues from talk show hosts, Internet rumor-mongerers … and insurance rackets.” AP Aug.6 2009
More articles: BusinessWeek The Secret of David Axelrod
Learn about The San Francisco Mime Troupe as reported in El Marcos Photo-essay Selling Drugs and Revolution to Children in America
El Marco’s Greatest Hits – Islam Clouds Bali’s Horizon
and – Barak’s Big Day Part II
Martin Luther King was hounded, beaten, and jailed by Democrats. Read what he had to say about protesting, in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
Thanks for visiting! Never Give In and Never Forget. El Marco
My buddy Red at The Peoples Cube Photoshopped the El Marco photo below. It illistrates an important Marxist perspective article. Make sure to read it and benefit from peoples laugh therapy at the same time.