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Aug 24, 2011

Convoys of No Confidence, libertarian conspiracy: The Drum.

The Convoy of No Confidence has made its protest and will by now, be on the road home. Have a safe trip and thank you to those hundreds of people who, disillusioned with the lies, profligacy, mismanagement, and taxing ways of the Gillard government, drove up to 5,000 kilometers to Canberra in order to make their feelings known.

While there has been some positive reporting, much of the media seems to have concentrated on the negative government response, and in some cases have concentrated their efforts on interviewing some of the fringe elements present, such as the CEC.

Some time back, the Australian public broadcaster, the ABC launched its online forum, “The Drum Unhinged,” to provide a platform for their regular left wing contributors who were too batshit crazy for their regular ABC Online forum. To be fair, Drum also publishes material from right wing masochists to entertain those of their regular readers who are into blood sports.

According to The Drum, Convoys of No Confidence go beyond extremist right wing fascist opponents of the carbon tax who refuse to acknowledge the infinite wisdom of Dear Leader Julia. 
Their intrepid investigative reporter, Ramon Glazov claims to have exposed them as tea-bagging astroturfers duped by the 'libertarian' Just Grounds Community, and inspired by the evil Koch brothers. The glowing reports from the Murdoch 'hate media' don’t fool Ramon:

But is something darker going on? As I examined the convoys myself (as part of an investigative report for US magazine, eXiled Online) I found some disturbing unanswered questions that media sources, centre-left and centre-right alike, have shied from touching.

Firstly, is the Convoy of No Confidence just another Astroturf group - a fake grassroots organisation - much like the Tea Party groups in the US organised with funding from the Koch Brothers.

Reading the Just Ground Community forums - the libertarian website where the Convoys were first organised - you'll notice something strange. The threads with instructions on how to join your local convoy have very few comments, most of which are written by the organisers themselves. There are a total of 11 routes to Canberra, each one departing from a different city in Australia. You'd expect these threads to be full of god-speeds, count-me-ins and dumb itinerary questions, but there are hardly any of those. …

The same names keep appearing: Cate Stuart, Julene Haack, Matt Thompson, Janet Thompson, Anna Hetherington-Grego. It didn't matter if you were reading the thread for Convoy #6 (Perth) or Convoy #10 (New South Wales) or Convoy #5 (Brisbane). The organisers always spent more time communicating with Convoy leaders in other states than with the angry locals who were supposedly lining up to join their protest. …

This seems suspiciously close to how "Astroturf" organisations in the US are arranged: the actual backbone of the group is a tiny nucleus of organisers, individuals with close ties to corporate-sponsored think tanks. These organisers send call-outs to the public, and a larger nebula appears, mostly composed of casual one-timers who know nothing about the organizers. …
The whole thing is standard leftist, tinfoil hat, Koch Bros conspiracy, boilerplate about pseudo angry mobs, creating the perception that these supporters exist, corporate-sponsored event organizers, supporters being unpaid extras, manmade-climate-change-denier Jo Nova, global-warming denial group once sponsored by Exxon-Mobil and the Koch Brothers, and so on. He also claims there is evidence that blockades form a major part of the convoy movement's “libertarian ideology.”

A first hand look at the Just Grounds community reveals little to do with libertarianism, and a lot to do with conservatism. It appears that the author could not bring himself to believe that any group of people could actually disagree with Gillard, even those he perceives as the great unwashed knuckle draggers from out in flyover country. That is of course, unless the minions of the Koch’s such as Allan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, the Cato Institute, Menzies House, and Just Grounds lead them astray.

Disclaimer: Jim Fryar works in the mining and exploration industries, but is not in receipt of any grants from the Koch’s, not even in unmarked brown paper bags passed under the table. He states though, that he would be willing to sell out all of his principles to them for the right sized financial inducement, especially if it were to include an air conditioned office with a couple of attractive research assistants.

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