The Curious Case of “Ellie Light”
Monday, January 25, 2010 Update:
Sunday, January 24, 2010 Update:
More reaction is occurring across the blogosphere — much less some of the many “confessions” in my own comments section (!) — regarding this story.
Via the JeffersonsRebels site, poster Erica opines on what this story could explain regarding presidential eligibility:
One “conspiracy theory” the Obama administration is definitely trying to squelch concerns his eligibility to serve as President. Obama holds dual citizenship with the U.K. through his father, and therefore does not qualify as an Article II, Sec. 1 “natural born Citizen”. Also see these four graphics: “Natural Born Citizen”, “Citizen vs Natural Born Citizen”, “Obama is a Usurper”, “Obama: A Constitutional Crisis”, and “Who Is Obama, The Chameleon?”
With the eager help of the left-wing media, and some apparent complicity with the RNC because of John McCain’s eligibility status, Obama and his team have painted anyone who questions the definition of that term as a conspiratorial birther. Furthermore, Obama enjoys the services provided by bloggers (probably paid) to infiltrate conservative blogs that push for full disclosure from the President. The following article received comments from an Obama acolyte. Paid or otherwise, we call commenters like him obots.
In the next article you will meet smrstrauss, who attempts to spread disinformation about Obama’s eligibility in the comment section of the blog. Also, if you do a keyword search for that username, you will find a large number of similar comments made by him across the conservative blogosphere. He has spent an inordinate amount of time blogging on this issue. One blogger claimed to have outed smrstrauss on RebootTheRepublic.com. He had this to say about him:
“With a little bit of work, I was able to find out this O-bot was likely Obama Superdelegate from DC, Shadow Senator Paul Strauss.”http://www.reboottherepublic.com/blog/currentevents/i-just-kod-an-obot-o-bot-on-the-birth-certificate-issue
If this blogger is correct, his discovery raises an important question: Has this person been paid with tax dollars to spread disinformation and propaganda?
While some may think this concept (“squelching” questions regarding Mr. Obama’s eligibility) is, itself, extreme, do recall that DC-based investigative journalist Wayne Madsen has already reported that certain questions regarding this President’s background are “off-limits.”
AmericanPower blog has also jumped in on this story providing various links to places such as LeftCoastRebel (to which I’ve referenced in my initial posting below the dashed line) and AnotherBlackConservative, replete with the following meme’d graphic:
Here’s a snippet from AmericanPower’s posting:
Jawa Report’s got the summary:
Patterico, The Cleavland Plain Dealer and some other intrepid souls have uncovered what appears to be a genuine astroturfing campaign by Obamacrats who are writing boilerplate pro-Obama letters to newspaper editorial sections across the nation.
They use different handles like “Ellie Light,” “Mark Spivey,” and a host of made up names, made up info about their residences and cut-and-pasted replications of Obama Administration propaganda. Newspapers across the country, of course, found these letters very compelling and printed them without knowledge that they were being used as willing dupes in this political astroturf operation.
Thanks to Google, we’re finding out that this was a political spamming operation possible links to Obama groups like Organizing for America and is not “grassroots” operation in any sense.
Added: Patterico has lots more on this, “Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter; UPDATED: Two More Pairings Found; UPDATED AGAIN: Four Pairings Total, and One Is a Triplet!” [emphasis original]
Want even more juice to the story? Check out what Jake Tapper at ABCNews.com has to say concerning David Plouffe, an advisor with strong ties to both the Democratic National Committee as well as Organizing for America:
Still reeling from the upset victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Mass., earlier this week, President Obama is augmenting the political operation at the White House by bringing several key 2008 campaign aides back into the fold.
Senior White House officials tells ABC news that Obama for America campaign manager David Plouffe will soon set up shop at the Democratic National Committee to oversee House, Senate, and gubernatorial races this fall, in what is shaping up to be a difficult political environment for Democrats.
“Plouffe is one of the smartest guys in the business, he has the full trust of the President and his team, and we appreciate any and all help he can give us,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. “This is a very challenging political environment and you want all the best players on the field.” …
In addition to the return of top aides such as Plouffe, other mid-level operatives from the 2008 Obama campaign who helped bring candidate Obama victories in Iowa and in Feb. 5 “Super Tuesday” primary states, will be enlisted to work on campaigns to keep expected Democratic losses to a minimum, aides said.
Recently, there has been a suspicious “letter to the editor” swirling around a number of different places across the country, all claiming to be from one “Ellie Light.” It speaks very highly of the President; you can see an example of such a letter at the Gainesville, GA-based Gainesville Times.
Normally, such a letter-writing thing might be a coincidence, until you consider some facts (via HotAir.com). For example, the exact same letter is being posted at The Politico, Philadelphia Daily News, San Francisco Examiner, Washington Times, and a USA Today blog. They’ve also shown up in local papers such as the aforementioned Gainesville Times, Los Banos Enterprise, North Adams Transcript, and Danbury News-Times.
However, this “Ellie Light” individual (or individuals) signs off “her” letters in a number of locales: Philadelpha, PA; Daly City, CA; Mansfield, OH; Waynesboro, VA; Algoma, WI; Bangor, ME. Apparently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer broke the story, replete with quite an email thread, to boot.
Even more interesting, the blog Patterico.com is maintaining a listing (very, very nice posting of the full context of this story) of all of the places that this letter is showing up; to date, the letter has appeared in 47 newspapers in 23 different States, with reports of a newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand having included it.
The LeftCoastRebel.com blog reported the following on their site:
This Ellie Light story gets stranger and stranger for me. Recall that right off the bat I thought that Ellie Light was perhaps the pseudonym of a troll from the Obama admin. (or hundreds) and perhaps from the David Plouffe-run Organizing for America. On the same topic as well, an editor from the paper that published this story contacted me as well (LCR is growing!).
My suspicion was confirmed when I received a comment from someone claiming to be Ellie Light – trouble is the troll mistook my site for a leftist p-jpontificator, KOS type site. That actually increased my suspicion that this story is just the tip of the (potential) iceberg with this type of nefarious activity, typically when you hit on something nefarious (like the Obama czar stories), the paid trolls show up at your site almost instantly.The fact that I got a pre-packaged response from ‘Ellie Light’ 10 minutes after I wrote my expose is highly suspicious, all the more because the ‘Ellie Light’ troll didn’t verify the political slant of my site.
The Patterico.com site has a posting that wonders whether or not such letters are a part of an initiative brought on by Cass Sunstein, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. As the posting quotes from Slate.com (the whole posting is well worth reading):
In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). [emphases original]
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The Poligazette site ran some interesting quotes in their posting:
Greenwald [from Salon.com] writes about the Obama administration’s payments last year to MIT professor Jonathan Gruber to promote the healthcare reform bill:
With this lucrative arrangement in place, Gruber spent the entire year offering public justifications for Obama’s health care plan, typically without disclosing these payments, and far worse, was repeatedly held out by the White House — falsely — as an “independent” or “objective” authority. Obama allies in the media constantly cited Gruber’s analysis to support their defenses of the President’s plan, and the White House, in turn, then cited those media reports as proof that their plan would succeed. [emphasis original]
…as well as this bit of potential insight:
18 months ago Sunstein wrote an article suggesting that the government use regular people, promoted as “independent advocates,” in order to “debunk conspiracy theories”:
This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). [emphasis original]
Gee, this sounds awfully familiar, now, doesn’t it? You know, as in: take an alleged document that claims to be a part of the President’s background, post an image of the document on a third-party web site (instead of a government-run web site; it would be too risky otherwise, and who would actually question the credentials of those in academe, especially when they already have Republican credentials? Brilliant!!!), and then have postings on that same site crafted in such a way as to make the image look like it has actually been validated by one State’s Department of Health.
And then masterfully follow that up with a laser-focused campaign of a term for anyone who even thinks about questioning any of this by using a simple term as a pejorative — “birther” — in such a way that as many new adherents stay away from the entire question for fear of — oh, is this so brilliant or what? — being called a racist, because, after all, Barack Obama does look black, now, doesn’t he?
While I’ve obviously steered this story into what could be happening with some of the opposition commenters on my site, do recall that none of them have ever denied being a part of a “conspiracy” of such magnitude. Is it possible? Certainly. Some of them have only ever questioned the idea that they’re being paid for commenting here.
I like how Patterico.com ends their posting:
My suggestion: if there is a troll you suspect of being part of a secret Obama blog infiltration program, ask him.
If he denies it, consider it suspicious. After all, that’s just what they would say — isn’t it? [emphasis original]
So! For those who deny that questioning this President’s bona fides is legitimate, let’s have it out in the open. When responding to this posting in the comments section, why don’t you go ahead and disclaim your association with any such conspiracy:
Are you a “part of a secret Obama blog infiltration program?”
Let’s also see how many folks think I’m now really, really going off the “conspiracy theorist” deep end (of course, to some, I’m probably already there for having been presenting questions to Mr. Obama’s eligibility).
See the following links regarding the eligibility saga:
- The background:
- The questions:
- The State Department and Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Natural Born Citizen Resolution (April 10, 2008)
Photo courtesy PoliGazette
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