Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries Tagged as 'Not what it seems…'

Wal-Mart + Edelman + right-wing bloggers = Astroturf

March 7th, 2006 · Comments Off on Wal-Mart + Edelman + right-wing bloggers = Astroturf

“I’m not nearly as Pro-Wal Mart as I am anti-union.”

That’s how Bob Beller aka CrazyPolitico explained getting caught (with several other right-wing bloggers) blogging Wal-Mart PR spin straight from the Edelman computers.

Beller insists that nobody paid him for channeling Wal-Mart. He was happy to do it in return for a regular supply of punchy blogfodder bashing big unions and other Wal-Mart critics. Disclosure? Only after the New York Times breaks the story.*

Did you imagine that it’s a GTFB (Good Thing For Blogging) when Big PR Firm Edelman teams with Technorati to study bloggers and hires Steve Rubel?

If you thought so, check out today’s NYT.

p.s. Richard Edelman has responded, spinning the story as yet another big media attack on bloggers.

p.p.s. Steve Rubel responds to some personal attacks made on him about this story. Read his response, and give the guy a break.

* Correction: Bob Beller sent me email saying that he personally did disclose that he got information from Wal-Mart. I’m assuming this is the blogpost he’s talking about–his email doesn’t link to it, nor does either of his front-page NYT/Wal-Mart stories. Please consider me fact-checked by Mr. Beller and disregard my suggestion above that he personally failed to disclose that Wal-Mart/Edelman was feeding him information.

Tags: Not what it seems...

The buck stops where?

February 17th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Seth Godin asks:

Is “I accept responsibility” the new “Your call is very important to us”?

It’s a phrase getting lots of play in DC right now, as Dick Cheney and Michael Chertoff theatrically “accept responsibility” for misdeeds that were, in fact, clearly their fault but for which, also clearly, they expect no punishment.

I will point out that Google News Search turns up 240 results for “accepts responsibility”, a very popular moral stance among convicted felons…

Tags: Not what it seems...

Soldier-hating, gay-loving senior citizens

February 22nd, 2005 · Comments Off on Soldier-hating, gay-loving senior citizens

Did you realize that the AARP (American Association for Retired People) was secretly trying to kill US soldiers and/or force them into gay marriages?

Thank goodness USANext is on the job, running ads like this one. Just the kind of hard-hitting, on-topic informative message about Social Security reform that you’d expect from the PR team that fronted the Swiftboat Vets….

Thanks to Josh Marshall for the link.

p.s. Today, February 22, is George Washington’s birthday. I wonder what he’d think of this kind of politics…

Update: Josh Marshall says they’ve taken this ad down and so they have, replacing it with a same-size graphic that says “14 facts the AARP doesn’t want you to know.” The graphic links to the same exact USANext page as before–a page that doesn’t have 14 facts on it, and in fact doesn’t have the number 14 on it–but facts clearly aren’t the strong point of these campaigners….

Tags: Not what it seems...

NH Republican scandal makes national news at last

October 20th, 2004 · Comments Off on NH Republican scandal makes national news at last

Bush’s New England campaign coordinator James Tobin may be the unnamed co-conspirator in a 2002 case of NH election tampering.

If Ashcroft’s Justice Department has its way, however, you won’t know the truth until after November 2.

It took years for the Justice Department to bring wrist-slapping indictments against two lowly scapegoats for NH phone-jamming in 2002.

Scapegoat #1 Chuck McGee decided “one of the best ways to disrupt the enemy [Democrats] is to disrupt their ability to communicate.” Several local telemarketing firms told McGee “No way!” when he asked them to take out the Democrats’ phone service on election day.

But “an official of a national political organization” loved McGee’s plan. This official urged McGee to contact a “former colleague” Allen Raymond (now scapegoat #2), and “to mention the official’s name”. (Quotes taken from a July 29, 2004 story in the Union Leader.)

James Tobin–Bush’s New England regional campaign director–has been identified by Democrats as the enabling official. Tobin quit once his name got into the papers. But what did Tobin do or didn’t he do? How widely known was his role by the Republican insiders who kept him in positions of trust for the two years since the phone-blocking?
Ted Kennedy and others are demanding that John Ashcroft should stop using the Justice Department as a stonewall against Democrats’ efforts to get answers to these questions.

At last this cover-up is out of the NH newspapers and into USA Today!

Bonus link:
More recent Republican dishonesty, via Josh Marshall, who also did some good blogging of the NH phone scam.

Tags: New Hampshire! · Not what it seems...

New Dead Sea scroll reveals Republican Jesus

June 29th, 2004 · 2 Comments

DATELINE: AMARNA 29 JUNE 2004 00:12:13 GMT

This just in: lost teachings of Jesus reveal an obsession with “sinful” sexual acts. He denounced
birth control, encouraged people to stone an adulteress, and had Mary Magdalen jailed for soliciting. He threw homosexuals–not money-changers–out of the Temple.

That’s the message of a new Dead Sea
scroll, being hailed as genuine by conservative Christians from many denominations.

“Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John clearly missed much essential material,” said
Archbishop Archibald Albecore of Chicago. “This is much closer to what Jesus should have said.”

The new improved version of Matthew’s

  1. And seeing the multitudes, Jesus went up into a mountain:
  2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
  3. Cursed are they who have sex when they are not married.
  4. Cursed are they who attempt to pledge their love to each other in marriage, unless one of them is a man and the other a woman, for yea verily if we permit unworthy ones to marry, then the marriages of all others will be defiled.
  5. Cursed are they who do not work strongly enough against abortion–let them be shamed beyond all other kinds of sinners….
  6. Cursed are sexual sinners of every kind, and this is the heart of the
    teaching I would bring you, for wanton unmarried sex is something I
    think about night and day.

the new scroll is genuine, then the Religious Right will have been
following Jesus’s teaching much more closely than we realized.

Tags: Not what it seems...

Open-source software: Eeevil in so many ways

June 23rd, 2004 · Comments Off on Open-source software: Eeevil in so many ways

That’s the opinion of a whole bunch of “independent” think tanks, including the Alexis De Tocqueville Institute (ADTI).

There’s a fascinating analysis over at Deltoid,
which quotes a bunch of colorful* and varied attacks on open-source
software from tax-exempt foundations that turn out to be getting major
grants from…Microsoft! 

Many of these same “independent” think tanks have also provided
“independent” assessments for other corporate clients–often without
disclosing their corporate funding.

In 1995, the ADTI got $75,000 from Phillip Morris for a “public awareness campaign” others might think of as  pro-tobacco astroturfing.

According to Deltoid, ADTI also got funding from Exxon–and according
to Disinfopedia, ADTI is also a proud member of the anti-global warming
group Cooler Heads Coalition.

I wonder what Alexis De Tocqueville would think of the “Institute”
named after him. And I wonder why my tax dollars are subsidizing the
profits of major corporations by giving these tax-exempt think tanks a
tax-free ride.

* “Linux is a leprosy” has to be my favorite.

Tags: Not what it seems...

New astroturf “from” US soldiers in Iraq

October 13th, 2003 · 1 Comment

SoldierAstroturf: Two identical letters, signed by different soldiers, praise US occupation of Iraq.

More identical letters signed with different names are hitting small-town papers around the country. All of them claim that the US occupation of Iraq has been an unqualified success.

Right-wingers claim it’s just a homegrown, amateur effort by low-level soldiers.

That’s not what the soldiers who signed say about these letters.

  • “When I told him he wrote such a good letter, he said: ‘What letter?’ ” Timothy Deaconson said Friday, recalling the phone conversation he had with his son, Nick. (Gannett story)
  • One soldier, who asked not to be identified, said he was reluctant to sign the letter because he did not agree with the comments in the letter but said he was ordered by a superior officer to sign. “When I’m given an order, I obey it,” he said.  (Capitol Hill Blue account)
  • Sgt. Christopher Shelton, who signed a letter that ran in the Snohomish Herald, said Friday that his platoon sergeant had distributed the letter and asked soldiers for the names of their hometown newspapers. Soldiers were then told to sign the letter. (Capitol Hill Blue account)

An amateur effort or a slick PR job? Well, what does this sample sound like to you?

“We also have been instrumental in building a new police force. Kirkuk now has 1,700 police officers. The police are now, ethnically, a fair representation of the community as a whole. So far, we have spent more than $500,000 from the former Iraqi regime to repair each of the stations’ electricity and plumbing, to paint each station and make it a functional place for the police to work.”

To see the whole letter, just do a Google search on “I have been serving in Iraq for over five months now”.

Tags: Not what it seems...

Lucrative jobs for telemarketers….

September 27th, 2003 · 1 Comment

1. Background: As of late February, the “scandal” had disappeared, as had all the guys responsible…..

2. 7 months later, columnist from conservative NH paper gets Ashcroft off the dime…

In case page has gone:

COINCIDENCE? Remember the GOP “phone-jamming” controversy? We reported in February that a GOP consultant paid by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee for “telemarketing” had a subcontractor jam the phones at Democratic and firefighters union get-out-the-vote sites on Election Day 2002.

Chuck McGee resigned as state party executive director the following day but maintained he had nothing to do with the operation. He now heads the local chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

Investigative information on the case was provided to the U.S. Justice Department’s Election Fraud Unit about a week after our report. Although we’ve sought updates from the Justice Department, our calls were never returned.

When Attorney General John Ashcroft came to the state this week, we asked chief spokesman Mark Corallo if anything was up. He promised to get back to us.

Sullivan reports that just last week, the state Democratic Party’s legal counsel, Finas Williams, was asked by the Justice Department to provide the names of people working at the state party offices when the phones were blocked.

Sullivan said she found it “frustrating” that the feds were asking for basic information seven months after the fact. “It is the very same information we provided to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office several months ago,” she said. “I’m grateful they are paying attention and taking it seriously. I just wish they’d take it more seriously and pay a lot more attention.”

3. Follow-up, one week later state officials also remembered they said they would do something.

In case page has gone:

PHONE-JAM UPDATE UPDATE. Last week, we reported that the U.S. Justice Department wants the names of the staffers who were at Democratic Party offices when phones were jammed last Election Day on the orders of a GOP consultant. It appears that 11 months later, a state review is under way.

State Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan received a letter a few days ago from Attorney General Peter Heed. “I want to assure you my office is treating this matter very seriously,” Republican Heed wrote, promising “a thorough investigation.”

He wrote that “in order to give this matter the full priority of my office,” he assigned a second attorney to the case.

And in other recent news of phone games:

Tags: New Hampshire! · Not what it seems...

Journalists vs.bloggers: Dirty tricks

September 24th, 2003 · Comments Off on Journalists vs.bloggers: Dirty tricks

Virginia Republican telephone eavesdropping on Democratic conference calls last year a few underlings have been sentenced to probation–the former GOP executive director got his law license suspended for 2 years.

Tags: Not what it seems...

Bush team’s plan to solve the blackout problem?

August 16th, 2003 · 4 Comments

Some little elves armed with modern technology just intercepted a long-distance conference call, to which I added names completely at random…

Bush: Let’s make this snappy. I am on vacation.
Rove: Yes, sir, but we have to deal with this blackout problem.
Cheney: You woke the President up for that? Get Halliburton!
Rove: Sir, our goal is not to improve the US infrastructure–it’s to find a scapegoat for the current blackout.
[Hubbub and confusion. Voices say “Lightning!”–“Power overload!”–“Canada!”]
Rove: Mmmm, we tried all those. None of them worked.
Rice: Tony Blair–no wait, that didn’t work on the WMDs did it?
Bush: Maybe that CIA guy would do it again–you know who I mean….
Rumsfeld: George Tenet, sir.
Tenet: With due respect, sir–no.
Rove: Sir, I have prepared the usual list of loyal allies now willing to take a bullet on this issue. I remove one name at random from this hat–the slip reads [pause] “Dick Cheney.”
Cheney: Hey, you promised me….
Rove: Hmmm, ahhh, there seems to be some mistake…
Ashcroft: Why not Cheney? He’s the guy with the secret Energy Panel….
Rove: …so I’m drawing another slip of paper…
Rice: Hey, this is an emergency! The papers are starting to blame deregulation
Rove: …and this one says…..[long pause]
Rumsfeld: Well?
Ashcroft: Well?
Cheney and Tenet: [together] It better not be me….
Bush: Well, what does it say?
Rove: It’s a picture of President Truman with his sign–the famous sign that says, “The buck stops here.” [pause]
Bush: Fine, blame Truman. Good-bye. [click]
Ashcroft: You know what this means? Terrorists have infiltrated our scapegoat hat…
[Further transmission was obscured by static.]

Tags: Not what it seems...