Need a Mob? Rent a Mob.

September 27, 2014

Last week, 400,000 people showed up in  NYC to demonstrate their concern about fossil fuel development, and attendant climate change.

Well, hey, that’s not the whole story. Oil companies have their supporters, too.  In this case, a hearing on tracking drew a large number of anti-frack commenters, as well as a busload of supposedly “pro” attendees, and their creepy handler.

Ashville Citizen-Times:

 Homeless men unfamiliar with fracking were bused from Winston-Salem to a state hearing Friday on the controversial technique for extracting natural gas, an effort to bolster a pro-fracking turnout, according to an environmental group and a published report.

“They were clueless,” said Bettie “Betsy” Ashby, a member of the Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking. “At least two of them I met definitely came from a homeless shelter. One of them even apologized to me and said, ‘I didn’t know they were trying to do this to me.’ One said, ‘I did it for the…’ and then he rubbed his fingers together like ‘for the money.'”

Several of the men were wearing turquoise shirts or hats that said “Shale Yes” on the front and “Energy Creates Jobs” and “N.C. Energy” on the back.

The hearing about hydraulic fracturing took place at Western Carolina University and attracted about 600 people. Opposition to fracking was overwhelming in comments made during the four-hour hearing, hosted by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission.

On its website, the N.C. Energy Coalition notes that it is sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, which advocates for the oil and natural gas industries.

The Energy Coalition says its mission “is to provide the public with factual information and offer an in-depth look into oil and natural gas industry in North Carolina.”

Algenon L. Cash, chairman of the N.C. Energy Forum, sent a one-sentence response when asked about the incident by email.

“There was a homeless person who, once we identified, we politely asked him to leave,” Cash said.

He did not address follow-up questions.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League filmed Ashby interacting with some of the men from Winston-Salem, whom she says identified themselves as homeless.

One man, who identified himself as “Christian Bradshaw,” initially said, “We feel we did not know about none of this.” But later he adds, “We’re pretty much out here supporting the needs of energy (and) jobs.”

His friends begin laughing. One of them covers his face with his hat. Another man, wearing a T-shirt with marijuana leaves on it that says, “Please Keep on the Grass,” yells a comment about legalizing marijuana as he heads into the auditorium.

A man wearing a turquoise “Shale Yes” shirt and an identification badge tells Ashby, “They’re here to learn.” When the cameraman approaches, the man flips the ID badge around.

Ashby said one of the men told her he didn’t want to talk because he feared the trip organizers would not give him a ride back to Winston-Salem.

“They were scared,” Ashby said. “I don’t think they had any idea what they were getting into. Once they realized it, they were very uncomfortable. They were completely clueless about what fracking is. They’re being exploited seven ways to Sunday.”



9 Responses to “Need a Mob? Rent a Mob.”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    LOL Rent-a-mob tactics have been used in this country since the beginning and before. I’d bet that many of the Sons of Liberty who dumped the tea joined that party only because someone either paid them or bought them a meal and a few tankards of ale.

    My favorite “rent-a-mob” was the one that demonstrated during the recount in Florida resulting from the Gore-Bush election debacle in that state. They were supposedly Floridians speaking out for “state’s rights” (a throwback to the CSA?). Media Matters or a similar organization identified a number of them as rather highly paid Republican campaign operatives and staffers, some from other states.

    Both parties have “rented mobs”, but I do think the Dems have done so for good causes, unlike the frackin’ frackers depicted here, who represent the worst of what the Repugnants and fossil fuel interests have to offer—-the destruction of the planet so that the few can profit.

  2. lorne50 Says:

    50.00 bucks to be there and bus them in go figure not a rent a mob ?
    I watched this and I am gobsmacked by the violence of your follow traveler’s :>(

    • dumboldguy Says:

      A few observations:

      1) The Climate March and Flood Wall Street were two different events, and were held one day apart.
      2) The March had 400,00 peaceful participants and none were arrested.
      3) Flood had ~2,000 participants, many of whom WANTED to get arrested. It was street theater and the NYPD played their part well. The NYPD “upheld the law”, sprayed a little pepper spray, wrestled with some demonstrators, and arrested ~100. No one was seriously hurt and the First Amendment was respected, the cops got overtime $$$ and something to talk about over a beer later.l
      4) WUWT, the deniers, and the right wing all tried to make it seem as if the March was the same event as the Flood, and met with a lot of success, unfortunately.
      5) The Flooders did a great disservice to the cause by holding their event the day after the March so that 4) could happen. They should have waited a few weeks
      6) The interviews in the WUWT link were obviously edited to portray most of the Flooders as idiots. A typical ploy of the biased media. The left-leaning media did the same during the Tea Party demonstrations in DC, the difference being that they didn’t have to work so hard to find idiots in the Tea Party crowd—most were and are.
      7) The Flooders were the same crew as the Occupy crowd and those who protested the World Bank. Many fry-brains and anarchists among them, unfortunately, and it’s not hard to find some poor guy wearing a Grateful Dead shirt and tale advantage of him.
      8) I have talked to many of the Flood-Occupy-Tea Party-anti World Bank types over the years when they demonstrate in DC—-I often ride my bike down there and engage them. They all have good intentions, but many are “confused”

      I am gobsmacked by lorne50’s general cluelessness about the March and the Flood. He is the prototypical target/victim of propaganda—-ignorant of subtleties, eager to have his biases confirmed, and easily led by the nose.

      Fellow travelers, indeed.

  3. indy222 Says:

    Peter, didn’t you have another ‘rent a mob’ post a couple years ago? Would like to have that link.

  4. 7) The Flooders were the same crew as the Occupy crowd and those who protested the World Bank. Many fry-brains and anarchists among them, unfortunately, and it’s not hard to find some poor guy wearing a Grateful Dead shirt and tale advantage of him.

    I don’t know if that’s true, though undoubtedly some of the same characters participated in both protests. I can’t comment too much about the Flooders, since their protest came and went so fast that I had no time to even find out what they were protesting. However, I was very sympathetic to the Occupy protesters. I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that the police had agitators among the crowd trying to stir up violence – despite that, Occupy stayed very peaceful in the face of repeated police violence. The “White Shirts” are today’s brown shirts, thugs for hire. JP Morgan Chase didn’t even try to hide the $4.6 million bribe they handed to Mayor Bloomberg for the rent-a-thugs:

    The public at large has little understanding of what Occupy was protesting. Not surprising – all you could learn from Fox News was that the protesters smell bad because they don’t take a bath. On the other hand, it must be said that Occupy wasn’t any kind of organized movement with a political platform – people were angry about the bankster bailouts, the declining standard of living for the middle class, and the perception that the elites in the USA (and elsewhere) can relentlessly commit fraud and theft and get away with it.

    The Tea Partiers are actually much in sympathy with the Occupy folks, but few of them realize it. They are mostly angry about the same things. But they were suckers for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and easily manipulated. They also started off protesting the bankster bailouts, and wound up convinced that America’s biggest problem was Obama’s birth certificate.

    It’s not just an American thing either. The EU countries are in the same boat. A good recent article to sum up the bad feelings and resentments that are building in western democracies:

    I more pessimistic than the author of the above article though. He seems to think that there’s a solution, while I’d be surprised if there is ever a happy conclusion. But I hope he’s right.


    8) I have talked to many of the Flood-Occupy-Tea Party-anti World Bank types over the years when they demonstrate in DC—-I often ride my bike down there and engage them. They all have good intentions, but many are “confused”

    About the main theme of this blog, “climate crocks.” I think there are many on this blog who also have good intentions, and are confused. Majority opinion on this blog favors such “solutions” as natural gas and biofuels, which I think could well be more harmful than coal in the long run. And then we have the great nuclear debate where yours truly, plus Engineer-Poet and a couple of others, keep trying to make the point that “no nukes” in the real world usually translates into “more coal,” despite the good intentions of the greens.


    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
    – Charles Mackay

    • dumboldguy Says:

      I agree with all you’ve said here. I am basically sympathetic to the aims of the Flooders, Occupy, and the anti-World-bankers myself. I have spent much time sitting on benches or standing on sidewalks talking to members of the last two groups (and the Flooders I’m sure are drawn mostly from them). Way back during the DC World Bank demonstrations I nearly got caught up in a mass arrest when the police made a sweep—if I hadn’t had the bike to escape on, they would have got me. The Occupy folks here were so fragmented and without direction that you got a different view from every one you talked to.

      I used the slang term “fry brain” loosely, but I did come across a number of them during my professional career and know of what I speak. The term “spaced out” also applies to them and comes from their propensity to stop speaking in the middle of a sentence and get a blank look on their faces. Most never find their way back to finish the sentence. That happened to me at the demonstrations—nice people, well intentioned, likable (if sometimes smelly and grubby-looking), and often unable to articulate why they were there.

      I haven’t spoken with Flooders—-they’re new—-but the interviews I saw and what I’ve read shows them to be the same anti-bank, anti capitalist, up with the 99%, down with the 1% type of people—-but now with a “fight AGW climate change” overlay. As I said, I think they detract from the movement when they go too far and give the righties things to point fingers at.

      You’re right about the Tea Partiers too—-go far enough to the libertarian end of the spectrum on the right and you meet the ultra-liberals and populists coming around from the left. As you say, their good intentions got them nowhere when the Dick Armeys co-opted them and turned them into foot soldiers for the plutocracy and the corporatocracy.

      Re: The “confusion” you see on CrocK? I see it more as just being unable to deal with the overwhelming complexity and magnitude of the problem. You need to use every tool in the problem solving book—Venn, fishbone, state-space tree diagrams, etc—to even begin to visualize the problem and see solutions, and most folks don’t think that way or use such tools. When you consider that AGW has scientific, sociological, political, and economic components, and the experts in each of those fields are often highly specialized and don’t communicate with each other within each field, it’s a wonder that anyone ever sees the big picture. Gilding pretty much does, and so does McPherson in a limited way. I DO think that many Crockers DO see the handwriting on the wall but just don’t want to admit that it will likely be “game over” if we don’t get moving on CO2. The cognitively dissonant on the right are motivated by fear—read about how they are governed by their amygdalas and the primitive fear response that is centered there.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        The closing is not quite complete. Add “That fear causes them to cling to “conservatism” and authority and become deniers. The trolls we see on Crock don’t really disbelieve the science behind AGW—-in their subconscious they fear that it IS true and therefore are driven to deny it as a coping mechanism”

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