– You all remember Ari Fleischer’s “Freedom’s Watch” astroturfing outfit? We’ve discussed this before, in the context of Ari’s trying to bolster support for staying in the Iraq quagmire; now (per Mother Jones via PR Watch) we get to see Fleischer’s Flyers and his ideological fellow travelers pimp the marketing concept of war with Iran:
“The basis of the whole thing was, ‘we’re going to go into Iran and what do we have to do to get you guys to go along with it,’” said Laura Sonnenmark, a participant in a recent focus group apparently funded by the Republican-associated lobbying group Freedom’s Watch. Sonnenmark, a “focus group regular,” said the moderator “used lots of catch phrases, like ‘victory’ and ‘failure is not an option.’” She added, “I’ve never seen a moderator who was so persistent in manipulating and leading the participants.” The final questions of the session were: “How would you feel if Hillary [Clinton] bombed Iran? How would you feel if George Bush bombed Iran? And how would you feel if Israel bombed Iran?” Neither the firm involved, Martin Focus Groups, nor Freedom’s Watch would confirm that the organization funded the focus group. But focus group participants were handed a flier with a Freedom’s Watch logo, and the group has advocated for confronting Iran, organizing forums on the “threat” posed by the country, and running ads calling the Iranian president a “terrorist.”
After the MJ article came out, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi of the right-wing group The Israel Project stepped forward to say that her outfit and not Ari’s had funded the focus group. But she really must like Ari’s group a lot to let them hand out flyers and other goodies at her focus-group sessions.
– Speaking of GOP tomfoolery: Know how the privatizers claim that destroying Social Security and turning its money over to the privatizers will result in higher rates of return?
Well, simple common sense shows that this is Pure-D bullshit, but for those who would like some addiitional evidence, here ya go: Back during the last Great Privatization Push that started in December of 2004, this theory was tested by a retiree named Stanley Logue, who actually did the math — and guess what? Social Security outperformed the DJIA. Really and truly.
– As Digby notes, Karl Rove is dropping the racist anti-brown-immigrant demagoguery because he can count. However, many if not most Republican candidates seem to be lacking this fundamental skill, as Dick Day demonstrates in Minnesota’s First Congressional District by cozying up to the Minutemen (and I’m not talking about D. Boon’s band, either). Please, Rahm, do you really want to emulate dingbats like Dick Day? Or the Minutemen?
– To close on a note that should leave a better taste in your mouths (if you like potato chips, anyway):
Last week, Frito-Lay served up a refreshingly rhetoric-free reminder that the future is coming no matter what we might do to encourage (or stop) it. Under their net zero initiative, the salty snack behemoth will be taking an Arizona potato chip factory almost entirely off the grid, running it on renewable energy and recycled water.
The project stands out to me mostly for what it is not:
Net zero is not a demonstration project for showy or questionable new technologies. In fact, the plans rely for the most part on defiantly unsexy technologies: solar concentrators, which are sort of the Jan Brady of the solar energy world; methane digesters, a technology that predates World War II; waste heat collection, an efficiency measure that Bill McKibben lamented the obscurity of just as Sean Casten was raising half a billion dollars to fund such projects. Etc.
So what’s cookin’ in your neck of the woods today?
(Graphic from Mercury Rising.)