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Fight the Scary People in Red T-Shirts! Disturbing Plans by Tea Partiers to Disrupt Wisconsin Protests

"Scary" teachers and union supporters rallying inside the capitol, Madison, WI. (photo: mrbula via Flickr

Whichever side of the Wisconsin Labour dispute you support, I hope that you would agree that tactics such as the ones described below are completely unacceptable for EITHER side.

The following is taken from a website named “The Patriot Action Network” on a page titled: “Get ready: SEIU’s Purple Army nationwide protest schedule; teachers’ unions pressure members to show “solidarity”” This section of the site references and links to Mark Williams “” blog, but at the moment, I am unable to verify if this post is, in fact, from that site as I am getting 404 errors for both the link that’s supposed to go to the specific entry as well as the blog itself. I am leaving the links intact, however, so they’re available if the site returns.

I’ll talk a bit more below about what this Patriot Action Network is and who it’s connected to.

The post from Patriot Action Network citing Mark Williams as the source:

Mark Williams News & Commentary

Contact me if you can help with the Sacramento event

That’s really the way it works folks, time to use this weapon against the enemy.

Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.

Reporting from Occupied America and fighting for Liberty on February 20, 2011 by Mark Williams in Mark Williams News & Commentary, Comments (0)


That link will take you to an SEIU page where you can sign up as an “organizer” for one of their upcoming major rallies to support the union goons in Wisconsin.

Here is what I am doing in Sacramento, where they are holding a 5:30 PM event this coming Tuesday: (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an “in” (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don’t have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there) (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures… signs under our shirts that say things like “screw the taxpayer!” and “you OWE me!” to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us) (6) we will echo those slogans in angry sounding tones to the cameras and the reporters. (7) if I do get the ‘in’ I am going to do my darnedest to get podium access and take the mic to do that rant from there…with any luck and if I can manage the moments to build up to it, I can probably get a cheer out of the crowd for something extreme.

WARNING: When around these union events do NOT instigate ANY physical confrontation, walk away from anyone who tries to start one with you. These people WILL have a mob mentality and ARE dangerous

Since I have radio shows to host in Fresno tomorrow (KMJ FM and KMJ AM) I am going to try to gin up some support from down there and salt the crowd here with more people.

Several Tea Party chapters around the country are planning to join with me, if you are a member of one in your area please contact them for details. If they are not participating get them to!

Chances are that because I am publishing this they’ll catch wind, but it is worth the chance if you take it upon yourself to act…there’s only one of me but there are millions of you and I know that you CAN do this!

So, the goal here is to get people out to behave badly while pretending to be on their opponent’s side, acknowledging that even if people find out there are “plants” in the crowds, their actions will still be seen and accepted as truth by many of those who see it. He also warns that those out protesting are “dangerous” and have a “mob mentality” – all the better to convince his followers that they “need” to be stopped.  . . .

Crooks & Liars has a post featuring a partial screenshot from the page of Mark Williams’ blog that contained the above post, which includes a note that “Several have also reminded me that we have a distinct advantage in that the SEIU primarily represents non-English speaking illegal aliens so we will be the ones whose comments will make air!!!!” (with an added emphasis on the “illegal aliens” part)

Partial screencap from Williams' blog

Interestingly, while the Patriot Action Network and Mark Williams make a big deal about telling people these are the tactics SEIU are using and that they’re just turning their tactics against them, the only description of tactics being used by anyone protesting the Wisconsin government is this, from the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

Join Wisconsin employees’ solidarity vigil on Facebook.

ACTION NEEDED – The right to bargain is under attack

Dear PSEA Member,

On Tuesday, February 22, make a small but important gesture to help your colleagues across the nation. PLEASE WEAR SOMETHING RED TO WORK. As I write this e-mail, education employees and other public employees in Wisconsin and Ohio are being threatened with losing their right to collectively bargain. Many years of hard fought gains may be wiped out with a single vote in their legislatures.

Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker is proposing to wipe away decades of collective bargaining for teachers, support staff, and other public workers in Wisconsin. The right to organize, the right to bargain health insurance or prep time, the right to have a voice in the profession – all of those things and more are under attack in Walker’s budget bill.

Ohio: Sen. Shannon Jones revealed the language of Senate Bill 5, a bill that will have a significant impact on public employees. SB5 eliminates collective bargaining for state employees, police officers, fire fighters and employees of higher education institutions, and significantly undermines collective bargaining for K-12 employees.

What would happen if you didn’t have a union to bargain your salary and benefits?

* What would your salary be?

* How much would you be paying for health insurance?

* Would you have a pension?

PSEA members are beginning to ask how they can show their support for their colleagues in Wisconsin and Ohio and to demonstrate their support for unions having the right to collectively bargain.

Here are two things you can do to show your support for the right to collectively bargain:

1. Show your support by wearing red on Tuesday Feb. 22. Take pictures at your work site and send them to PSEA Communications or share them on PSEA’s Facebook page. Call your colleagues to make sure they know about wearing red on Tuesday. Our theme is, “We Are One.”

2. Sign the online petition [Editor’s note: Apparently concerned that some Patriot Action Members might be confused about which side they’re on, the poster helpfully provides the following note: “PAN MEMBERS DONT SIGN!!”]

In Solidarity,

Jim Testerman

PSEA President

Wow. Wearing red clothes and signing petitions. Terrifying!

Of course, the kind of deception being urged by Tea Partiers isn’t anything all that new. We’ve been seeing fake protesters for years, perhaps most famously the “Brooks Brother Riot” that took place in the Dade County elections office, where Republicans flew staffers from DC to Miami where they loudly protested the recount in an increasingly aggressive manner, until the elections committee decided to stop the count – something that help pave the way for Bush to take the Presidency whether he actually had won it or not. It was the wrong way to fight then and it’s still the wrong way to fight. This has nothing to do about winning on the merits of a position or even on the strength of popular support. It’s a cheap shot tactic that serves only to distort, manipulate and demonize your enemy without leaving any kind of trail for even the curious to find the truth (which is, at least, an option when it comes to the normal political lies we’re faced with every day.)

There may not much that can be done to prevent people from doing these things, but we *can* tell our family and friends about these plans so that they’re aware that what they think they’re seeing may bear no resemblance to the truth.

As I said initially, I condemn these tactics regardless of who’s side is using them. Since this effort seems to be backed by Tea Partiers (individually and, if Williams is telling the truth, by officials in some Tea Party groups as well, here’s more information on those who are behind these particular plans.

Mark Williams

For those familiar with Mark Williams, it’s completely unsurprising that he’d be involved with something like this. He was once the chairman of the Tea Party Express, but was forced to leave after he made a number of racially-charged statements and posting a satirical letter from NAACP president Ben Jealous to Abraham Lincoln complaining that Lincoln had ruined life for the blacks by freeing them, since they need a “massa” to tell them what to do.

The Tea Party Express

The Tea Party Express was founding by a conservative PR group, Russo, Marsh and Rogers, through their “Our Country Deserves Better” PAC and Republican Party member Howard Kaloogian. Kaloogian is probably best known for having posted a photograph showing quiet, empty streets claiming this proved Iraq was much safer than the media was saying only to have it revealed that the picture was actually taken in Turkey, not Iraq, thus proving nothing at all about safety in Iraq (but showing that Kaloogian isn’t above pure deception as a political tactic.)

Other controversies about the Tea Party Express have included how much of its funding actually goes to TPE work and how much goes to its parent company, and having received 4 donations totally $7,500 from a woman who had died in 2007, before the donations were made.

The Patriot Action Network

Here is how the PAN describes themselves on their about page:

Why “Patriot”?

Because that’s who we are! We believe in the greatness of our nation, in our Constitution, in God-given liberty and limited government.

Why “Action”?

Because that’s what we do! We have a place in the political debate because we are among the best informed and most engaged citizens in our nation. We research. We read. We rally. We write. We petition. We call. We fax. We vote. We stand.

Why “Network”?

Because that’s where we meet, at the intersection of the great town square and the latest “Web 2.0” internet technologies. And we’re just beginning! Patriot Action Network is the official social action network of Grassfire Nation. For the FAQ (Facts and Questions) Click Here.

The Patriots Action Network used to be known as Resist.Net. In fact, the link in the text above for the FAQ still uses the address.

The Grassfire Nation mentioned under “Why ‘Network'” is, in turn, describes itself, thusly:

Grassfire Nation is a conservative action network comprised of more than one million grassroots citizens from across the nation. Grassfire Nation — a division of Grassroots Action, is a privately-held Internet activism services organization that provides news, information and grassroots activism services and strategies to individuals and organizations. We seek to provide a wide array of services to the Grassfire Nation so YOU can quickly take action. These services include petitions, resources and practical ways for you to take a stand on key issues of our day. Our goal is to get you involved in the key debates shaping our nation and our culture. Through the Grassfire Nation, our singular focus in on YOU — the grassroots conservative.

Going up the next step, Grassroots Action says that they are:

Grassroots Action is the leader in building custom conservative action networks for organizations seeking to expand their impact through the Internet. If your organization is looking to build a custom online action network, contact the GrassrootsAction team.

(E-mail link removed – I don’t feel the need to give them any business, eh?)

This note is also on their landing page (along with a video) but there are no links to anything else on the site: ©Grassroots Action, Inc., P.O. Box 277, Maxwell, IA 50161. Grassroots Action is a for-profit company. Organizations mentioned on this site represent current or former clients of Grassroots Action.

So, instead of being an actual grassroots movement, the Patriot Action Network and Grassfire nation are part of a for-profit company whose business is to go around setting up supposed grassroots sites. I suppose it’s not all that surprising, then, that – like most businesses and business interests – they don’t support workers OR their rights.

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