Tag Archives: Astroturf

Guess who’s coming to Virginia

AFP sponsored anti-medicaid expansion event with Delegate Tag Greason and Randy Minchew. The sign behind Greason reads "HANDS OFF MY HEALTH CARE"

AFP sponsored anti-medicaid expansion event with Delegate Tag Greason and Randy Minchew. The sign behind Greason reads “HANDS OFF MY HEALTH CARE”

We can’t ignore how money is spent in political campaigns because, plainly, those who contribute expect something in return.

If you give a $100 contribution hoping that will offset the cost of a candidate’s flyer or postage, there’s little expectation that this relatively unsubstantial sum will buy a candidate’s undying obeisance to your wishes should your candidate prevail in November.

But what if you are contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads that your dream media team creates, if you are glorifying “the candidate” and slander-blasting any opponent to kingdom come with half-truths and whopper lies, if you bundle the contributions of others to show the reach of your influence, if you provide endorsements from organizations that you control that appear independent of each other (but are not), and, if you do snazzy multi-color snail mail mailings, robo-calls, push polls, social media, print and electronic blast “press” releases tearing down the opponent, who may be financially unable to shout back with anything like equal force, while, all the time, continuing to deify your candidate?

The scale of influence enjoyed by this Daddy Warbucks’ species of no-holds-barred contributor tilts the scales of our electoral process from anything fair to grossly inappropriate because the candidate elected by such extraordinary largesse is beholden to the contributor who brought him or her to our dysfunctional political hoedown – the U.S. Congress.

This pay-to-play phenomenon appears to be the rule, as evidenced by the fact that candidates raise millions to get jobs that pay less than two hundred thousand dollars. Continue reading

Let Tom talk

Tom Seeman and "S." Mann at the Feb 2011 "LEC" protest. Note: This image has been altered to obscure the back of "S." Mann's head at the request of "S." Mann." She has also requested that we only refer to her as "S." Mann, which we confess to finding hilarious.

I don’t know both sides of the story. I read a letter from LCRC activist Tom Seeman. He attended the July 12 LCDC meeting and reported that Evan MacBeth, chairman of the LCDC asked him to lead the “Pledge of Allegiance” and then booted him out of the meeting. Supposedly, MacBeth called an “executive session” and asked all “non-LCDC and non-Democrats” to leave. Tom was the only person to oblige.

Excuse me, but what’s a “non-Democrat?” Is there a genetic test, ideological test or litmus test? Is Tony Hall, the Democrat who co-authored an anti-gay call for “Christian” insurrection against teh ghay a Democrat? Is there a Democratic equivalent of a Rhino? If Evan did what Seeman says, I’d bet you a dollar that quite a few LCDC members did not approve of the action. Democrats have little political power against the all Republican BoS. Their most potent tool is exposure, and that requires transparency. If the Democrats are going to demand transparency, they’d better practice it, right?

Continue reading

LEC 9011

Promoted by Epluribusunum – This post is especially insightful in light of yesterday’s developments, in which Supervisor Burton withdrew his support from the CBPO in part because of too much uncertainty regarding which parcels would be affected and how. I note in particular the chorus on the LTM forum decrying Burton as an “opportunist” for taking exactly the position the LEC are demanding. It suggests that nothing could possibly make them happy, and lends yet more support to the theory that LEC is nothing but a Republican campaign organization. A fraud.

Roy Jacobsen, President of the Loudoun Environmental Council marched up to the BoS podium and presented a list of 9011 properties affected by the proposed Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.   He was quoted in the Leesburg Today.

“Staff was asked for a list of impacted parcels caused by the implementation of the CBPO. They said it would take two to three weeks…Then they said four to six months. Here’s a list,” Jacobsen said. “We had our engineers using the county’s GIS system compile this. This calls to question whether the county is trying to provide this list or not… is it just incompetence or is it a cover up?”

Continue reading

All my criticisms of LEC were just confirmed.

Update: I just learned of a small detail I got wrong in my account. Although we had discussed the need to make a donation, we actually didn’t write a check; we brought cash. It doesn’t help with the insinuation that there was some plot involving the cancelled check. Sorry about that, carry on. -Epl

I honestly did not think I would have to write this post.

True story: I was thrown out of the “Loudoun Environmental Council” Family Event Pig Roast Fundraiser.

This is what the invitation says:

Family Event Pig Roast
Saturday, April 09, 2011 2PM til ???
Hosted by Loudoun Environmental Council

703 xxx xxxx
xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx
Hamilton, VA 20158

Please join us for a Pig Roast on Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 2:00PM to 7:00PM
Kids welcome, there will be activities, food, and a sundae bar.
Rain or Shine
Donation not required but appreciated
We are raising funds for the continued fight against the CBPO and for rational environmental goals.
This will be a fun day to thank you for your support in the past and your support in the future.
No speeches, just fun
Barbecue Whole Pig, Beans, Potato Salad, Coleslaw
Hot Dogs and a Sundae bar for little kids and big kids.
Adult and kids beverages provided
Country casual

Look, obviously I’ve been very critical of LEC, because they don’t appear to be what they say they are: non-partisan and concerned about clean water. I have explained why that’s what I think, as clearly and as transparently as I can. I’ve also explained that I have a lot of questions about the CBPO and whether it’s the best solution for protecting our streams. I don’t know what LEC means by the phrase “rational environmental goals,” but I’m trying to find out. For all of these reasons, on Saturday it really seemed like it would be a good idea to see if LEC was more complicated than I thought. Continue reading


"I am a corrupt politician," says the pig.

As the travesty in Purcellville grinds on, we turn back to the curious case of the Loudoun Environmental Council. This new nominally “environmental” group still seems to have nothing to do with protecting the environment, and everything to do with protecting certain corrupt politicians at the expense of the adult conversation our county needs to have about safeguarding our water quality.

There was already much discussion here and here regarding the nature of this group. As before, my concern is not the merits of the proposed Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance but rather the dishonest exploitation of the issue for political gain.

Responding to my criticism of LEC as an astroturf group set up to influence the 2011 election, commenters – of the sort frequent visitor Barbara Munsey refers to as “sockpuppets” – were dispatched to do damage control. A very enthusiastic one told us this:

..and the LCRC was at a meeting, so it was almost all non LCRC folks! Ha, that is the best of all… the rally conflicted with an LCRC meeting on redistricting and candidates presentations! The LCRC was not even there!

And did you hear Eugene, he was shocked as he looked at the crowd.. he said “Who are you all? I don’t know any of you?”..

Meh. Take a look at the pictures and see if you think that could possibly be true. Continue reading


Suppose that you wanted certain policies enacted in Loudoun, policies that would enrich you at the expense of other residents and the long-term health of the county. Further, suppose that if you were honest about this goal, those who would do your bidding would never stand a chance of being elected. The quickest, easiest route to what you want would be to find an issue that you can use to generate fear and anger. Fear and anger will motivate otherwise busy or uninterested people to go vote for your candidate, whereas the ordinary business of actual governance – analyzing evidence and debating different solutions to problems – usually will not. It may be lazy, and it may be disingenuous, but it does work – and if serving your own interests is the goal, that’s all that matters.

The issue could be almost anything; it’s what you do to exploit it that counts. In this particular case, the issue is an attempt by local government to address the problem of deteriorating stream quality, and therefore the quality and cost of our domestic water. Continue reading

“Be the Difference!”

Found in my inbox this morning:

A politics fairy left a flyer under our pillow last night. No way to tell if it’s authentic, but it purports to be the remarks of this person:

Of this organization:

Who may or may not be this person:

Of this organization:

A group whose commitment to Loudoun County goes back all of eight months, according to the State Corporation Commission:

(Bets now being taken on how long they exist after November.)

The flyer says her remarks at a meeting on February 4, 2011, included these immortal words:

Action Teams of incorrigible virtues? Wonder if their team-mates will look like this:

Hard to see it, but the sign on this incorrigible Republican virtue says, “I am a corrupt politician,” and was worn in a display of (what the flyer calls) “fact-based discourse” opposing the passage of a clean-water ordinance for Loudoun County that marched through the board of supervisors’ meeting room in the middle of Tuesday’s business session.

Nothing informs a fact-based discourse like a pig-suit, eh?

The flyer closes with a few words of an unknown philosopher:

And this call to join their army:

A little “difference” from this crowd would be a welcome thing. They can start with some of their own advice and admit to some obvious facts. Here’s a start, with grammar to match their standards:

But that would be taking an easy shot, and after all the material they’ve supplied already, let’s not be hogs…