Astroturfing a Pandemic: Betsy Devos keeps her hand in the game

By Hank McCoy

By Hank McCoy

4 min read

As the US grapples with the idea of reopening the economy in the middle of this global pandemic, there have been investigations into who is promoting the recent Reopen America protests.  They’ve been popping up all over the country claiming they’re grass-roots and people power funded, however as reporters start to look into the protests, they’ve found an alarming amount of “astroturfing” going on within the so-called movement.  

“Astroturfing” in politics is when a group or protest appears to be a grass-roots movement, however in actuality is funded by wealthy politico and business entities.  Turns out the Reopen protests are no different. Most of the Reopen websites around the country as well as the facebook groups dedicated to the movement are being run by the Dorr Brothers, gun rights activists out of Iowa with ties to the far right of the Republican Party.  

The Michigan Reopen protests were connected to the Secretary of Education Betsy Devos through Greg McNeilly, the President of the Michigan Freedom Fund which was one of the organizations behind the events in Michigan.  McNeilly served as campaign manager to Dick Devos (Amway zion and Betsy Devos’ father-in-law) when he ran for governor in Michigan in 2006, McNeilly was also the executive director of the Michigan Republican Party under the chairmanship of Betsy Devos. 

FYI Devos’ brother Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal Officer and founder of Blackwater, is deputy chairman and minority shareholder of Frontier Service Group (FSG) a Hong Kong based logistics and security company that according to it’s financial disclosure forms show that in 2018 they planned to spend millions in the Xinjiang Province.  Xinjiang is where the Chinese have been putting muslims in concentration camps; one of the reasons Trump has claimed for the trade war with China, yet people connected to the Trump administration are working with the Chinese to put the muslims in concentration camps.

Not unlike the Reopen Protests, the Trump Administration has been playing both sides of the fence to keep the chaos fueled…theirs opportunity in chaos. It sows division (see reopen protests), muddies the waters of discourse, and allows for the administration to divide and conquer. (Not that the Democrats have done much better lol)

Check Erik Prince’s interview with Mehdi Hassan below.

The idea of astroturfing isn’t a new tactic amongst politicians (Liberal or Conservative).  The Tea Party used similar tactics when it formed behind the funding of the Koch brothers through various organizations they were involved with.  Many key members involved in the financing and formation of the Tea Party movement are involved in the organization of the Reopen Protests today.

The Dorr Brothers have drawn ire from even the Pro-Trump Republican establishment, so much so the Minnesota Republican party created a website dedicated to exposing the brothers and their “work”. Check out the website here.

Besides the Dorr Brothers and Betsy Devos with her cabal of evangelical satanists, you have involvement from alt-right super softies, the Proud Boys; when they aren’t traveling to Portland to get into a battle royale with anti fascists, they’re marching for Heir Trump and wearing t-shirts claiming former Chilean dictator Pinochet did nothing wrong (he was actually a brutal dictator who tortured and murdered his political enemies).

These are the leaders of the movement, this isn’t a band of concerned citizens, this is an orchestrated attempt to discredit political opponents and cast an image of Democrats as far-left communists hell bent on the destruction of the United States. I’m no fan of Democrats, but the idea that they’re anything but Capitalists (with the exception of Sanders, AOC, and co) is delusional. Pelosi and Biden and Schumer have done everything they can to keep the Bernie Sanders wing of the party away from the levers of power in the Democratic party. All the policies that progressives have put forth have been shot down by the Democrats…forget the Republicans, the Dem’s are the one trying to keep the “socialists” at bay.

With countrymen like these who needs enemies?

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