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To the surprise of exactly no one, it's now turning out that if you peek at what's really behind those teabags, you're gonna find out that what's back there doesn't pass the smell test.

What? Why are you all laughing? Cut that out, this is serious! It's about freedom and stuff!

That's why you owe it to yourself and your teabags to read up on the astroturfing that's behind the drive to encourage Americans to whip out their teabags tomorrow. Great work has been done on this front at Firedoglake:

They seem to be particularly upset about links I sent out yesterday on Twitter (using the teaparty hashtags #tcot and #teaparty) regarding a report by Lee Fang at Think Progress documenting the involvement of corporate lobbyists FreedomWorks in organizing the teabaggers. FreedomWorks is run by ladies' man (and registered lobbyist) Dick Armey, and if they're not "organizing" the Tea parties, it's news to them.

And Think Progress:

Despite these attempts to make the "movement" appear organic, the principle organizers of the local events are actually the lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works. The two groups are heavily staffed and well funded, and are providing all the logistical and public relations work necessary for planning coast-to-coast protests

And News Hounds:

Also, as was reported by two Playboy reporters (more on Playboy's report here), CNBC's second-stringer Rick Santelli's rant against President Obama on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange wasn't exactly spontaneous, but was actually a carefully-planned trigger for an anti-Obama campaign, funded and assisted by the right-wing big-wig Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, including the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine and FreedomWorks. (The Koch Family's head rightie, Fred Koch, was also a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society). Does seem a little odd, doesn't it, that a bunch of tea party websites and organizations were online and live within hours, even minutes, after his rant, and voila – a week later a protest was born.

And Crooks & Liars:

The right-wingers want to know how FOX is financing this movement? It's because they are endlessly promoting it on every show that has. The hosts are saying they will be covering the event as if it's a presidential debate.

And Fired Up! Missouri:

On the same day that Carl Bearden is offered up as one of the most disgusting examples of the money-driven influence peddling at the Capitol...

...Carl Bearden is listed as the point of contact for the "Tea Party at the Capitol" --ostensibly a grassroots movement of outraged citizens.

And The Plum Line:

Looks like opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act are going to try to use the much-ballyhooed "Tea Parties" as a way to get a leg up in organizing against the measure.

The "Tea Parties," as you know, are the conservative anti-Obama protests that Fox News and other right-wing outlets have been heavily promoting as a national movement.

Now the Workforce Fairness Institute, a leading opponent of EFCA, is set to blast an email out to hundreds of thousands of people on its list encouraging them to go to "Tea Parties" on April 15th, the big "Tea Party" day, and speak out against the measure.

The email asks recipients to attend as "WFI Tea Party Captains"

And Media Matters:

Fox News has in dozens of instances provided attendance and organizing information for future protests, such as protest dates, locations and website URLs. Fox News websites have also posted information and publicity material for protests. Fox News hosts have repeatedly encouraged viewers to join them at several April 15 protests that they are attending and covering; during the April 6 edition of Glenn Beck, on-screen text characterized these events as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." Tea-party organizers have used the planned attendance of the Fox News hosts to promote their protests. Fox News has also aired numerous interviews with protest organizers. Moreover, Fox News contributors are listed as "Tea Party Sponsor[s]" on TaxDayTeaParty.com.

Well, you get the idea. You won't be able to swing a teabag tomorrow without hitting a corporate lobbyist or paid plant. So why try to avoid it? Now you can join in the crowdsourcing of the information on it, all at SaveTheRich.com.

Yes, the reality of the mass teabagging set for tomorrow is that it turns out to have been largely a creation of the same gang that already ran conservatism off the rails. That's already discouraging some teabaggers not previously shamed by the silliness. And to the extent that the teabagging has grown out of the interactions of consenting individual adults, it's mutated into a grab bag (if you will) made up of every nutty (if you will) sorta-kinda conservative boogeyman, pet peeve and outright black helicopter conspiracy theory there is.

Are they teabagging about taxes? About the bailout? About Obama supposedly not being American born? About guns? About socialism? About ending the war, freeing Mumia, legalizing hemp or building giant puppets?

But the usual suspects are hard at work, making sure that teabaggers are properly corralled, and their names and email addresses harvested for their lobbying work. Surprise! You came to teabag the government, and ended up putting your teabags into the cupped and waiting hands of corporate lobbyists, many of whom have already had their hands in your pockets during one or another of the bailouts.

Head on over to Save The Rich to get up to speed on which lobbyists will be disguising themselves as ACORN operatives and trying to gather signatures (presumably from people who will need to hold their teabags in their teeth while they sign), how the "fair and balanced" FOX Nutwork will be providing on-site, blanket coverage of these anti-government events nationwide (and then asking you to decide), and which GOP elected officials will just happen to wander onto the stages, shocked and surprised to find microphones there as if by magic.

And if you find yourself passing by when the nation's teabags are twisting in the wind and you happen to observe something even more nuts than you were expecting, you can add your report to the mix.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 01:25 PM PDT.

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