Posted by: shannynmoore | August 6, 2009

Manufactured Protesters Are Killing Democracy

With all the “tea bagging“, “birthers“, and corporately organized protests, I’m tempted to merely mock them.  Their fake outrage is dangerous.  They HAVE changed the course of events, and not in a bastardsgood way.

The “Brooks Brothers Riot” of the 2000 Bush-Gore recount in Miami-Dade is a perfect example.  The polling headquarters was flooded with “plants” demanding the vote count be stopped.  Republicans always want to stop the vote count; it’s a part of their strategy.  When there is a large turnout, or when ALL the votes are counted, that usually bodes well for Democrats. At least ten of the Brooks Brothers Fake Rioters were staffers from Washington DC.  Full name roll here.

Number 8 is Duane Gibson.  He has some close Alaskan ties, and is admitted to the Alaska Bar. Duane Gibson was a former top aide to Sen. Ted Stevens and was also a top aide to Rep. Don Young. When he left Don Young’s office in the summer of 2002, Gibson was senior counsel. He joined Jack Abramoff at the lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig.

According to this website:

Gibson was named in grand jury subpoenas of documents relating to “agents and associates” of Abramoff. [Records Expose Young-Abramoff Ties, Anchorage Daily News, 4/20/2008]

Gibson received public money via Ted’s earmarks for the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board, which awarded grants totaling $293,000 to the Alaska-based dog-treat company Arctic Paws, owned by Duane Gibson and his brother, Brett. [Stevens Stops Backing Controversial Board, Roll Call, 5/9/2007]

In 2005, Gibson sponsored a “coffee break” as part of the pro-mining convention and is a registered lobbyist for the Pebble Mine.  He is listed as a guest at two “Kenai River Classic” fundraisers as part of the Livingston Group.

Mr. Gibson has a right to make a living, just like everyone else.  I don’t agree with his political position, and that’s fine.  His participation in the disingenuous “protest” that helped bring us George W. Bush, is a vulgar display of anti-patriotism.  The faux mob wasn’t there to make sure their votes were counted; they were liars, manipulating the democratic process.

The astro-turfing of protests is dangerous.   Locally, we had bus loads of Wasilla, gay-fearing X-ians flood Anchorage Assembly meetings to protest a GLBT protection ordinance in a town they don’t reside.  Fox News sponsored the Tea Bagger Tax Protests.  Corporate lobbying-run groups like Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity are creating the illusion of grass roots protests at the health care town hall meetings.  The “Tea Party” movement flies in the face of what the true patriots in Boston stood for. Where were these citizens when the previous administration was spending trillions of citizen tax dollars on an illegal war? Or when billions of dollars-cash on pallets delivered on C-130s to Iraq-disappeared-a fraud now thought to be bigger than Madoff’s ponzi scheme? Where were they when the loop holes for corporations slid through?

Monday, the Alaska legislature will meet in Anchorage for a special session prompted by the resignation of the governor.  The schedule includes over-riding the veto of the federal stimulus funds for weatherization and energy assistance.  $28.6 million dollars are at stake for Alaskans-the same Alaskans Palin awarded $740 million in “energy assistance” not even a year ago.

Once again, there is a “Tea Party, Decaffeinated — say no to stimulus” planned.

Their flyer reads:

“The purpose of this rally is to insist Alaska’s legislature sustain the governor’s veto of the federal stimulus energy funds.  This action will reduce Alaska’s responsibility for the national debt and assert Alaska’s right to reject intrusion by the Federal government into State and Local affairs”

Newsflash, Teabaggers.  The governor quit.  It won’t lessen our responsibility for national debt; California could spend it, and we’ll still pay it back! For every dollar Alaskans submit in taxes, we get back $1.83 from the federal coffers.  Stop pretending like you didn’t vote all those years for Ted Stevens and Don Young because they stood up for reducing federal funds spent in Alaska! BTW, you wear seat belts, have car seats, wait until 21 to legally drink, and have speed limits set by federal guide lines…what’s wrong with putting some weatherization around your door? Really? Oh, that’s right, the president is black. I guess warmer homes and jobs aren’t really needed in Alaska.

The flyer goes on:

“Bring your signs, flags, and friends.”

How about this, bring your signs and your friends, but leave the flag out of it.  I’m sick to death of the xenophobic, fear-based, blather wrapping itself in the flag and carrying a cross.  Jesus wasn’t a Republican.  I know, shocking.  His works included “healing the sick” and “feeding the poor.”  I’m sure you would have hated his health care plan, it was free.  Socialist!  Jesus wasn’t an American. There are brave soldiers buried in Arlington under the Muslim Crescent.  Their blood for your hate speech.  That’s rich.

The rallying cry of the astro-turfed crowd is simply “No!”  Many citizens show up because of their ideology, and I support their right.  The posers, like Mr. Gibson almost a decade ago, have abused and eroded our civil discourse into mob scenes.

There is a group of pro-weatherization, energy stimulus money folks showing up the morning of the special session at the Egan Center.   If you are inclined to show up as a body of support, please do.  Please email your state representatives and ask them to cast their vote to make Alaska better, warmer and employed.

You should know who is behind the faux outrage. Follow the money. Here is just one example:
Here’s an update from MoveOn:

All across the country, right-wing extremists are disrupting congressional town-hall meetings with venomous attacks on President Obama’s plans for health care and clean energy.


  1. Really enjoyed this post Shannyn.

    Great research, good job backing up your statements with links to sources, and a fabulous message delivered.

    All-in-all great journalism. Kudos.

  2. The GOP has descended into pure thuggishness. Even though I’m liberal, I’ve always been cognizant of the fact that having the two parties as checks against each other was a good idea. But now, watching the GOP’s descent into Nazi-like mob tactics, race-baiting and criminal dishonesty, it’s time for the GOP to go away. It has become a cancer. Conservatives need to regroup and start from scratch, and build a new party less given to ignorance, insanity, racial hatred and bullying. Conservatives need to wake up and remember “Country First!” and mean it for a change.

  3. Send out emails to all legislators. TPM site has the memo, google memo details co-ordinated anti-reform harrassment(sic) strategy.

    I watched the Tampa town hall meeting on HuPo tonight. It was a sad scene with everyone so disrespectful. It was told that a fist fight broke out and the police were called. The GOP is really becoming nasty and they are not playing fair. Don’t forget the emails. Lisa said she wouldn’t vote for Sotomayor because she received 1,400 emails (could have been letters or calls, I can’t remember).

  4. so what is the difference between this protest, organized or not, and the one with SEIU, Acorn and AIG? turn about is fair play isn’t it?

  5. Shannyn,

    Nice – and nicely thought through

    I don’t live in Alaska, but I am absolutely against the (GOP) idea of creating a “smokescreen” of argumentation, accusation, fake grass roots protests, etc. to disguise what’s really going on

    Keep up the great work –

  6. By the way –

    I think #7 might be a neighbor of mine…

    or at least #7 in the photo above is making the same face a neighbor of mine made when I talked about voting for Obama last fall

    don’t those impressive little “fist raises” all look orchestrated in a cool “power to the people” sort of way???

  7. Very well written and researched. I just wish I could come up and help caffinate everyone. My thoughts will be with you.

  8. I saw that piece on Rachel Maddow and I swear that guy had fangs. What an assclown.

  9. The hypocrisy and the futility of the GOP and these staged protests are getting old. They’re trying real hard to mask their racism with hcr opposition.

  10. This is also proof that, if they want her and if she wishes to do it, THEY CAN FRAUDULENTLY HOIST PALIN INTO THE WHITE HOUSE!

  11. Suggest you look into Duane’s ties to a company called “Alaska Erosion” and then track down the person with whom he incorporated the business with.

    Along with Mark Pfeffer, Gibson’s business partner is also listed as an officer of the “Alaska Inaugural Committee Inc.” on their 2004 IRS 990.

    Considering the ties of his business partner to the likes of Arctic Power and a few other old school lobbyists – most notably Kim Hutchinson and Bartley O’Hara, this path is ripe with back channel connections and layers of obfuscation.

    When you’re done tracking that one down, be sure to look into Gibson’s connection to Dave Rader, the Alaska Railroad and the Colorado Railcar Company.

  12. One of your best posts, Shannyn. You are always able to take what looks like a distant national story and show how it connects locally. This takes investigation. You demonstrate that using your brain can keep you from being “bitten by the stupid.”

    FYI- cordie in the earlier post is most likely my uncle, based on the e-mails I got from him yesterday. On second thought, it might be that weird lady at the bank…

  13. thanks for laying it out there Shannyn, excellent – oh and cordie, if you can’t see the difference, turn off Faux Noise and throw out the koolaid, you betcha.

  14. Thank you for the line “Oh, that’s right, the president is black.”
    THAT is the heart of the matter for many of the people who oppose our President.
    Excellent post, Shannyn.
    You make me proud to be an Alaskan.

  15. While your post is an interesting one, you must remember that not everyone in the GOP is like this. Just as every liberal is not someone who needs a shave, shower, and new clothes, not every conservative is a “xenophobic, fear-based, blather wrapping itself in the flag and carrying a cross.” I am a conservative who happens to only believe in some sort of higher power. Be careful when you broad generalizations about “everyone”, because not “everyone” feels the same way. According to your mindset, Since I am from the deep south and white I must think The President is Satan or something. I do not and I applaud his accomplishments, I disagree strongly with some of his polices, but no president can ever please everyone.

    • not everyone. I agree that fact was bought home to me a few weeks ago from a Ron Paul supporter while I was listening to the live blogging about the red shirts versus blue shirts in anchorage and I made a comment that the fundamentalist christian were not christians and how could they claim to be with the way they acted.He said he was a christian fundamentalist and he would not act like those people were.He said they were fake christians and to not paint everyone with the same brush.I had to agree with him as I have at times voted for someone from both parties depending on various things and that just because this year I did vote for Barack Obama did not mean I was not a christian either,which is what some christias seem to think

  16. I wish this Phillips guy would agree to have a little conversation with Jon Stewart. They really are cowards aren’t they?

  17. America is still a democracy and both sides have a right to protest if they don’t like what is happening…it is the same as filing ethics complaints. To suggest that people’s outrage is fake seems a little surprising for someone who believes we should hold the government accountable. Just because they believe differently than you, doesn’t make them wrong.

  18. Saying people attack the president because he is black is like saying people attack Palin because she is a woman.

    Politicians have their stances and it is unfortunate that the dems keep throwing in race whenever anyone has a LEGITIMATE disagreement with the president’s policies. Do you agree with everything he is doing? If not, what does that say? Only that you disagree on some things.

    If we are to move past racial politics, that excuse cannot be thrown out everytime someone criticizes him. Presidents ALWAYS have their detractors who disagree with their POLICIES.

    Of all the Alaska bloggers, you seem the smartest…don’t get caught up in using race as an excuse for legitimate concerns about BO.

    Before you say I am not for health care, I am. But it needs to be done responsibly and not thrown together in a month with no discussion and with legislators not even reading the bill. There are still a lot of questions as well as concerns on how to pay for it. For people who pay taxes, it is a concern.

    Also, be sure to follow the money on both sides. I just read that “at least two health industry WH visitors have ties to health care czar DeParle. William C. Weldon is chairman of Johnson & Johnson, which paid DeParle $7,500 for a recent speech. Wayne Smith is chief executive of Community Health Systems, which merged with Triad Hospitals – where DeParle served on the board of directors. DeParle’s options were converted to cash payments worth $1.05 million.”

    Both sides take money, sad as that is.
    Sorry this is so long. thank you

    • Thanks for bringing your manners. I agree, both sides take money as pointed out in a post several back. Both sides are not encouraging people to disrupt meetings. The astroturf root movement is pushed by the right and funded by corporations.

      When it comes to race, I don’t think it should be an issue…or gender…but it does. “He’s not like us” doesn’t me he fundamentally disagrees with my politics…it means “He’s not white.” “He was born in Kenya” “He’s a muslim” (like that’s illegal?) He’s un-American, etc. It’s race baiting…it just is. I think it’s dangerous.

      I will always publish posts when there are manners…so thank you for yours…

      • Thank you for posting an opposing opinion. I see no reason to not discuss thing respectfully. I don’t expect to change opinions but only to respond with facts.

        Two points:
        Not everyone who is disagreeing with Obama is saying the things you listed. Of course there will always be racist, sexists, eliteists etc. that will judge a person on those things only. Please don’t lump us all together. The people I talk with that disagree with him are not saying that. They disagree with his ideology and his policies. Plenty of the differences fall into party or conservative/lliberal beliefs therefore the opposition.

        Second, you say that both sides are not encouraging people to disrupt meetings, insinuating that the right is, as well you say that the meetings are getting violent.

        I listen to “right wing” commentators alot. I have never heard them suggest disrupting any meetings. Quite the opposite. They tell people to be careful and respectful, so as not to labeled a nut by the left. I have seen yelling, chanting and interrupting but no violence except for the SEIU guy hitting a black conservative in the face at the St. Louis meeting. They were arrested. Are there a few fringe loonies? Of course. One swastica does not make the whole crowd a nazi. Some people are just STUPID.

        They DO encourage people to go out and speak their mind. Nothing wrong with that. I think the seniors (most of what you see at the meetings) are there because they are afraid they will lose their insurance. If you have sources that show that THE MAJORITY of these people are being organized ahead of time by corporations, I would like the link.

        I did find a link encouraging the left to go in order to “fight the right’. As well, they are sending in the SEIU to the meetings. I just read through their manual on what to do when you go to a meeting:

        If you read through all the tactics and you’ll see they are not interested in a fair debate. If you can find something comparable for the right , I would love to see it.

        Corporations are funding both sides of the health care debate.
        Andy Stern, who is the head of the SEIU has been meeting with Obama once a week. What do you suppose they are talking about? His name is listed her many times.

        As well, Obama has his snitch line open for anyone to send in info on ‘fishy’ comments about healthcare. What do you think of that? Do you honestly not find that a bit bizarre or big brotherish?

        We need to slow down and allow all sides to discuss instead of ramping up the heat, on both sides. Peggy Noonan, sorry I know she is a bit conservative, has a good article about what is going on.

        Sorry so long. Thank you.

  19. Wonderful post. I love that first picture of the “fake” protesters…lol

  20. I can’t agree with you on this one, Shannyn. Saying these people who are showing up to protest are ruining democracy is the equivalent of the Bush administration deeming everyone critical of the war as unpatriotic. Please don’t stoop to that. “Manufactured protests” are unfortunately nothing new. Labor unions have bussed in temporary non-union mercenaries to protest outside non-union businesses for years.

  21. Wonderfully researched, thought out and well written post.

    As we are (all)(most) Americans, we probably should realize that it is o.k. to disagree. I have no problem with disagreement and people asking questions. But that isn’t what is happening.

    Individuals with legitimate questions are being screamed at – rather rudely – and like many others, I am just sitting and waiting for the guns to come out. My deep fear is that is how this will end.

    Stifling dissent is not new in this country. Neither is either blatant or latent racism. However this may have some racism attached, evoking the nazis and Hitler is also now in the discussion.

    Fear is a tactic. There are individuals in this country who will not hesitate to shoot someone who disagrees with them. I believe we are heading that way and it is not good for us as a country.

    This fomenting of hatred is being driven by the Insurance Companies. And it plays into the rather naive low information individuals who are not really liking having a black president, and are afraid of losing their benefits.

    It’s a mix of messes – but it is being driven by corporate greed. If you believe these screaming crazies actually CARE about you, your health care, or your medical access, then you need to take a look at the tactics that are being used.

    The insurance companies do not want people to educate themselves because they will find out just how access is already restricted and health care has been rationed for years, and decisions are made by clerks and not your doctors.

    It’s fine to argue and even to disagree. My concern now is that we are headed down the road to violence and I hope I am wrong. I really really hope I am wrong.

    Maybe that is what will finally stop this madness.

  22. Has everyone seen this little tidbit?

    Why won’t she go away?

    • The bad ones, the idiots, the people that are clueless and have only their best interests at heart never really go away…

  23. Whoa!! Even though every one of your posts is great, this just might be your best post ever Ms. Moore!!

    I share your outrage. I understand your bewilderment at the irony of the self-defeating selfishness of their foolishness. I am perplexed as well as the road to take from here, but I do know that it must be the high road. We can not fight these fools on their (astro) turf.

    Lets keep talking with cool heads and move on to the 21`st century, folks!!

    (I posted this as well on Huffpo, I hope that doesn’t offend anyone…seems a lot of my posts are getting scrubbed over there! I am Thinkagain2 on that site.)

  24. In my opinion these “organized” protests and “protesters” pose more of a threat to our country and out way of life then any terrorist.

    If these protests and the rhetoric of the conservative/right wing media and certain congress members continue to escalate the way they seem to be doing, it’s only a matter of time until these become violent.

  25. People, we can no longer afford to stand by and do nothing! The only way to get solid health care/health insurance reform is to continue to push for it – and not let up! To this end, I have set up a petition to have paid health care removed from our representatives in Congress until such time as they reform health care – to include a strong public option – for ‘we the people’ who they are supposed to represent.

    If you agree with what I am doing – I am going to ask you to do what I have been
    asking others to do…sign it, then spread the word to anyone and everyone you know!

    I am but one person – and cannot make a difference on my own…but there is
    strength in numbers and, if we work together, with assistance and determination, all things are
    possible! Please do what you can to help us further the cause of health care with a strong public option! Thank you!

  26. You are amazing! This is truly a spectacular bit of journalism. I admire that you are able to “call a spade a spade” with regard to the extremely disconcerting racial undertones.

    Everything that is happening in America and in Alaska today scares me! I appreciate all the effort you put into researching your stories, and the eloquence with with you deliver them.

  27. With each passing day the GOP continues to show why their party is decending further into disarray and irrelevance. These bullying tactics only show how desperate they are to have their voices heard, and IMHO it also shows that maybe at some core level they see the writing on the wall and understand that their time is coming to an end as a viable political party.

  28. great post, I will be going to Town hall meetings here in Ohio…I for the first time as a nurse will be taking a first aid kit…sheesh…I am encouraging people to go- be calm go in groups and try to explain to others that Medicare is a Working Govt system/plan, it can work to have more than one govt managed program, that 52 Million Americans are without healthcare- maybe even more- with 14,000 day losing care, and that is 400,000 more a month…lives are at stake- so it is worth having these meetings and talking to each other and our govt elected…and leaders…

    but Big Money- Profitmongers are also at war with us- citizens..and they are paying their talking heads-Beckerheads are spewing what they are being told…and spoonfed…

    We can fight back- but it is going to take courage and people willing to speak up…and speak clearly…

    thanks for posting this- I linked to it at Watergate Summer..

  29. […] Manufactured Protests are Killing Democracy […]

  30. Hello Shannyn and everyone,
    have you seen this article by Sara Robinson, recently published on Truthout and originally at The Campaign for America’s Future, entitled “Is the US on the Brink of Fascism?”

  31. Sarah Palin is being pretty insincere. After all, she knows darn well we only want to euthanize Republican elderly, not the Democratic elderly. Sheeeesh!!!!!

    As for the little one, Sarah, leave your kids alone!

  32. Keith O said it all on his program and so did shannyn when she was on his program.Too bad palin doesn’t know the meaning of the word truth and honesty

  33. N race is part and parcel of this whole thing I just received an e-mail from someone I would never have guessed would ever send an e-mail like that as her mother took in a woman who had biracial children and helped raise a young biracial woman that at least the last time I heard was like a sister to her. It took me completely by surprise I skimmed over it and when i read the end of the e-mail that was being forwarded to thousands it said a black man born in Kenya.So it is race and the birthers all rolled into one. I sent an e-mail back asking this person not to send me any more garbage like that.Not sure I will ever hear from this person

  34. […] Moore looks at how artificial protesters are killing […]

  35. Gibson and his Abramoff friends, including Julia Kitka, once hatched a plan to take out “janitors insurance” on Alaska Native Elders

    “Gibson told the Committee that the Elder Legacy Program was
    trying to leverage funds for Indian tribes, but mostly
    charities, by acquiring life insurance policies for the tribe
    or charity.\299\ The original pool of insureds were Indian
    tribes, Alaskan Natives, and black church elders.”

    Listen to the interview with Jack Abramoff that Brad Freeman did

    According to Abramoff, a client of the law firm that he was working for at the time, Greenberg Traurig, suggested the idea of taking out insurance policies on Alaska Natives.

    If you peruse the Open Secrets database, you will see that GT’s client was the Alaska Federation of Natives.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

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