Patterico's Pontifications

1/24/2010

Who is Mark Spivey? Another Obama Astroturfer; UPDATED With Still More Astroturfing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:21 am

I joined a Facebook group called “Who is Ellie Light?” This morning I was invited to join a new group: “Who is Mark Spivey?”

Who is Mark Spivey? I know only this: that he is the author of this pro-Obama letter that has appeared in numerous publications:

A recent Associated Press article stated that President Barack Obama’s hesitancy on the Afghan war buildup implies weakness.

I wish world leaders had more of that kind of weakness. Clearly, Obama does not want to send soldiers into harm’s way without a clear goal, a solid plan and an exit strategy, three aspects sorely missing from former President George W. Bush’s military ventures.

I know that we Americans are used to presidents who play cowboy, who say things like “bring ’em on” and “mission accomplished” without a second thought; presidents who send Americans into battle on falsified weapons reports.

But it seems our current president understands that you don’t send soldiers into battle without first nailing down what they’re supposed to be doing, and why.

So hats off to Obama’s “hesitation.” Soldiers are human beings, not chess pieces. It’s about time we get a president who understands that.

— Mark Spivey

The letter has appeared — at a minimum! — at The Minnesota Daily, at the Baltimore Chronicle (on the same page as Ellie Light’s letter!), at the San Diego Union-Tribune (where he claims to be from San Diego), at the Naples News (where he claims to be from Naples, Florida), and at Buzzflash.com.

And there are more. You know what to do.

UPDATE: In more Ellie Light news, Dan Riehl and LeftCoastRebel are on the trail of Ellie Light.

Also: Ed Morrissey forwarded me an e-mail he received from Ellie Light several days ago. The mail appears to have been routed through the IP address 212.24.236.50, which comes back to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia??

I assume this is some sort of masking or spoofing device and not the actual location of “Ellie Light.” Which makes you wonder: why does a grandma writing letters on behalf of Obama use an IP spoofer?

Finally, the latest count for Ellie Light’s letter. It has appeared in at least 62 publications in 29 states and the District of Columbia; national publications and a Yahoo link; and 2 foreign publications.

Not bad for a single individual. Just think of how many rejects she got.

UPDATE x2: Another example: this time identical pro-Obama letters allegedly written by two completely different people. Details here.

108 Responses to “Who is Mark Spivey? Another Obama Astroturfer; UPDATED With Still More Astroturfing”

  1. Jesus H. Christmas.

    The astroturfing and spin cycle NEVER ENDS with these Obamacrat frauds. Their signature “policy” has stalled and the country is in worse shape than when he cam in, so their response is to astroturf newspaper editorial pages across the US?

    This is the most pathetic, juvenile thing I’ve seen in a long time. I’d expect this kind of thing from teenagers.

    In fact, teenagers would do a better job of running the country than this bunch of frauds. Unbelievable.

    Good Lt. (7edfb8)

  2. Well, now we have it confirmed. The demoncraps have resurrected Joseph Goebbles.

    peedoffamerican (7f3c14)

  3. Now I’m wondering if all the pro-Obama letters running in publications are astroturf.

    meep (bde131)

  4. I thought it interesting that in the Baltimore Chronicle collection of letters to the editor, though I did not do a thorough search, it looked like Ellie Light and Mark Spivey were the only two letter writers who did NOT have their location listed below their names.

    Vivian Louise (643333)

  5. It’s the only game they’ve got. This is how they manifest the “lessons” from recent political setbacks. More spin, more subterfuge!

    It’s only going to get worse.

    rrpjr (0c762f)

  6. The Santa Barbara Independent (heh)

    Jaibones (468585)

  7. A different pattern from “same name, same message” noted by maggief – this one is “same message, use different names.”
    working for the country’s biggest polluters

    cboldt (60ea4a)

  8. Any moron who observed the comment sections of blogs and newspapers during the campaign could tell there was a calculated effort by the Soros funded minions to bum rush pro Obama attacks and counter attacks.

    This is old news. I would suspect that hundreds were paid 8 to 10 bucks an hour and operated from various University campuses and the city of Chicago.

    Why has Louis Farrakahn been so quiet over the last year?

    Dan Tana (7308c3)

  9. Resurrected Joseph Goebbels? I think Obama is the reincarnation of the Nazi propaganda chief. See http://www.woowoostories.com.

    nntrancer (4e0dda)

  10. Resurrected Joseph Goebbels? I think Obama is the reincarnation of the Nazi propaganda chief. See http://www.woowoostories.com.

    nntrancer (4e0dda)

  11. So Spivey, Obama deeply understands our armed forces because of … his years of service and vast leadership experience with the military? No, that’s not it. Perhaps it’s the time he spent on the ground in a war zone. Nope. Drawing a blank there too. I know, he must’ve read about it in a book. Sure, that qualifies him to lead and even to second guess, oh, let’s say, Stan McChrystal. Hey professor Spivey or whoever you are, what about the troops that were on the group defending against daily attacks from the taliban who had to wait 4 months for Obama to send reinforcements? Would you like your son or daughter to be in that predicament? Well, would you? I know, Obama just wants to make the right decision and that takes time. Good thing HE has plenty of it.

    robjava (b1bf7b)

  12. So Spivey, Obama deeply understands our armed forces because of … his years of service and vast leadership experience with the military? No, that’s not it. Perhaps it’s the time he spent on the ground in a war zone. Nope. Drawing a blank there too. I know, he must’ve read about it in a book. Sure, that qualifies him to lead and even to second guess, oh, let’s say, Stan McChrystal. Hey professor Spivey or whoever you are, what about the troops that were on the group defending against daily attacks from the taliban who had to wait 4 months for Obama to send reinforcements? Would you like your son or daughter to be in that predicament? Well, would you? I know, Obama just wants to make the right decision and that takes time. Good thing HE has plenty of it.

    robjava (b1bf7b)

  13. Will He? Won’t He? Obama’s Next Move, Scott Brown Update: http://mittromneycentral.com/2010/01/24/will-he-wont-he-obamas-next-move-scott-brown-update/

    Dan (403904)

  14. The name “Mark Spivey” also appears (with incredible irony? or for real?) in a Google-listed posting at an email marketing blog:

    “Mark Spivey added a blog post. Help My Email Marketing Sucks! (And how to fix it). I originally posted this article on my blog and since it is email related I thought I would post it here for the benefit of new readers – enjoy. …”

    You can find it here, but it’s behind a signup screen:

    http://www.emailmarketersclub.com/xn/detail/701889:BlogPost:140656?xg_source=activity

    Perhaps someone will want to take a chance and sign up to investigate.

    reader (ed1ae7)

  15. More.
    Fountain Hills Times
    http://fhtimes.com/times/2009/111809/lte-spivey.html

    City Weekly, Salt Lake
    http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-9693-peaceful-strength.html

    Advance-Titan – Oshkosh
    http://www.advancetitan.com/editorial/letter-to-the-editor-obama-s-hesitancy-on-afghanistan-1.936339

    Florida Alligator – Gainesville, FL
    http://www.alligator.org/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/article_a222dfa8-d264-11de-a34e-001cc4c002e0.html

    Midweek.com – Claims to be from Honolulu
    http://www.midweek.com/content/columns/lte_article/letters_to_the_editor940/

    Bakersville Californian – claims to be from Bakersville
    http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/letters/x297283166/Theres-no-rush

    And perhaps more revealing –
    http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=39336&dcn=todaysnews

    It comes to me as no surprise that there is widespread public distrust of the government. I am a government employee and share this view. The executive office has contempt and disdain for the democratic principles for which this nation was founded. The government is operated like a private club in which the insiders are richly rewarded at the expense of the general public. War based upon false pretenses, abandonment of due process of law, engaging in torture, designer special interest legislation, creative “signing statements”, and on a more personal level the abominable NSPS personal system which re-introduces the spoils system. Jan 20, 2008 can not come soon enough! Mark Spivey Posted February 26, 2008 2:43 PM

    Lots more here:
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22MArk+Spivey%22+Obama&first=1&FORM=PERE

    Mike (dc7fa4)

  16. I noticed those Spivey letters were from Nov ’09. Maybe they saw that nobody noticed at the time and decided to try again with Ms Light. I suspect there’s many more out there.

    atxcowgirl (0a8111)

  17. Mark Spivey is obviously a patriotic lifelong concerned christian conservative. Why ask?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  18. Who’ed guessed, Chicago-Thug rule book in play for the rest of us.

    Ron (637261)

  19. Its pretty obvious now that an organized astroturf campaign is going on.

    Evidently the Obamessiah’s regular believers are not stepping up to the plate by themselves enough to make him happy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. You can add the Bakersfield Californian to the list.

    jenn (afc291)

  21. Left coast rebel also makes this thoughtful point:

    “Bungalow Bill also mentions that one must not forget Obama’s campaign symbol featuring an ‘O’ with a setting sun, etc, obviously the term ‘light’ and ‘Ellie Light’ come to my mind when thinking of the symbol: ”

    It’s going to be hard to hide the truth from such a keen investigative intellect.

    imdw (8f8ead)

  22. They also have a Janet Leigh as well (wasn’t that the actress from Psycho?)

    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=%E2%80%9CJanet+Leigh%E2%80%9D+%E2%80%9Cafghanistan%2C+afghanistan%E2%80%9D&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&aql=&aqi=&oq=&fp=1&cad=b

    Wrote to the same papers as Spivey spewing the same stuff.

    Doug (8ffaa3)

  23. Baraxelrahm propaganda machine, meet the Internet.

    Can you say “busted“?

    Who wants to bet that they will double down on net neutrality now?!… can’t have the masses wising up to their games, now can we?

    Once they control the Internet, we wont be able to expose these types of frauds so easily. Chilling, truly chilling to think about.

    Painesright (2033e2)

  24. Rejections???? Of “Letters” praising Obama???? From the mainstreamers????? What are you smoking?

    glenn (757adc)

  25. Whoops, I missed these two:
    The Independent Florida Alligator (Gainesville, FL – part of UF?)
    The MidWeek (of Honolulu) – Seems he’s got a shack in Honolulu too!

    Irene Bernhard (431032)

  26. I love that we’re trying to track down these people, but shouldn’t we be concerned that any Ellie Light correspondence received AFTER she was exposed (and people were actively speculating about who “she” was) is designed to confuse us? A little bit of serious investigative reporting by Ben Smith or one of the other original recipients would go a long way here. I know, I know. Monkeys might just as well fly out of my ass.

    Infidoll (10ef17)

  27. 1. This is a somewhat interesting story, but if this person (or persons) turn out to be just BHO fans, Patterico will have wasted a lot of time going after private citizens. Yet again.

    2. A professional wouldn’t reuse the same names. They’re using email so they know how they’d be found out. They’d use different names and wordings. Unless they wanted to be found, either to make BHO look bad or something.

    3. At the same time as this, maybe Patterico could take five minutes out and use his HotAir posting rights to point out that even as millions are unemployed, the BHO admin is rushing to add 200,000 new legal workers to the labor market via what amounts to an amnesty. Patterico and HotAir could do that, but playing around is so much easier, isn’t it?

    4. Yes, you’re right: by pointing this out I’m revealing myself to be an agent of Obama’s Worldwide Conspiracy to Built World Maoism.

    24AheadDotCom (078238)

  28. Is this site getting slammed or is it under DDOS attack?

    Molon Labe (640aad)

  29. This post (#35) from this Free Republic thread of earlier today indicates that besides Ellie Light and Mark Spivey, there may be at least two more spammers out there: “Janet Leigh” and “Mike Platz.” :)

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)


  30. Who wants to bet that they will double down on net neutrality now?!… can’t have the masses wising up to their games, now can we?

    Once they control the Internet, we wont be able to expose these types of frauds so easily. Chilling, truly chilling to think about.

    I agree. I seem to recall legislation passed early last year granting unprecedented “emergency control” of internet to president (?).

    When marketplace begins to expose and shame the spin at hitherto unknown (and clearly intolerable) levels, action by this crowd is simple inevitable. Not a question of if or when, only how.

    rrpjr (0c762f)

  31. “astroturf”
    But the two letters we’ve seen are so pithy and pedestrian and uninteresting. And, as robjava points out, are not from anyone who claims any particular insight into the topics. They remind me of junior-high essays in civics classes, in the “write a letter to your local newpaper” mode.
    I’d guess this is an unorchestrated writing of letters to editors, aided by the internet. Maybe suggested at some grassroots gathering, but not dictated.
    Which leaves the question that’s been asked before: Why did any editor think these were worth publishing?

    m (41b5c3)

  32. I’ve had letters to the editor published in the past (not recently) and each time I was contacted by the newspaper in question (the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times) for verification that I was the letter-writer. Judging by the Light and Spivey incidents, I assume that newspapers have laid off this layer of fact-checkers.

    the wolf (7cffb6)

  33. Could the answer be as simple as this explanation I found in comments at Freeperville, to which Patterico linked in a tweet:

    “I’m always getting garbage from the Organizing for America group. (I did put myself on the list to know what they were doing). They have “tools” for the ave. Barry fan, to just plug in their name to a generic letter. Why they will even email it for you!”

    I removed their name, but I asked permission to reprint.

    sybilll (5339e1)

  34. […] Who is Mark Spivey? Another Obama Astroturfer […]

    Astroturfing Trying To Make A Comeback UPDATED « Nice Deb (099f00)

  35. The end justifies the means. Make yourself look bigger than you are, as their leader, Alinski wrote.

    And they see nothing wrong with this? What else are they capable of?

    The papers that print this stuff are suspect as well (Mr. Obvious here).

    Ding (e9de40)

  36. Just plug the text of the suspect letter-to- the-editor into this handy-dandy Google-based device and it will tell you where certain juicy passages of the text have appeared before.

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)

  37. […] Do you know Ellie Light?  How about Mark Spivey? […]

    Sunday funnies « Nebraska Redneck (186bd9)

  38. Now there’s Janet Leigh…who apparently hangs out with Ellie because she writes to the same papers on the same day.

    How pathetic is this?

    WillTheRealAstroTurfPleaseStandUp? (cea58b)

  39. Here is contact info from MyCentralJersey.com web article. Could this be the same guy?

    Mark Spivey:

    908-243-6607; mspivey@

    MyCentralJersey.com

    badbilly (db884e)

  40. Now there’s Janet Leigh…who apparently hangs out with Ellie because she writes to the same papers on the same day.

    How pathetic is this?

    WillTheRealAstroTurfPleaseStandUp? (cea58b)

  41. Now there’s Janet Leigh…who apparently hangs out with Ellie because she writes to the same papers on the same day.

    How pathetic is this?

    WillTheRealAstroTurfPleaseStandUp? (cea58b)

  42. […] Courtesy of Patterico, along comes another sock-puppet: “Mark Spivey.” And don’t miss Ellie Light’s Facebook […]

    » ‘Ellie Light’: Indefatigable Letter Writer or Axelrod/Plouffe Sock Puppet? UPDATED: Who is ‘Mark Spivey?’ - Big Journalism (d59464)

  43. All four(Ellie, Mark, Janet and Mike) appear on one newspaper letters to the editor site.

    http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2010/010910Letters.shtml

    Precinct Patriot (632175)

  44. […] Light, the Obama sockpuppet I posted about yesterday, has a colleague. Someone named Mark Spivey has done much the same thing with letters supporting […]

    Right Angles » Blog Archive » Ellie Light meet Mark Spivey (1490a2)

  45. All these comments.. blah blah blah. Not a single better idea of how to do things different. Nothing relevant. Maybe someone around here should start caring about what will help us out and not worry about the silly drivel. I’m sure you’ll spend the time tracing my ip now instead of doing something productive for this “conservative” blog.

    blah (228d7a)

  46. All these comments.. blah blah blah. Not a single better idea of how to do things different. Nothing relevant. Maybe someone around here should start caring about what will help us out and not worry about the silly drivel. I’m sure you’ll spend the time tracing my ip now instead of doing something productive for this “conservative” blog.

    blah (228d7a)

  47. 24AheadDotCom – Why should Patterico do some of the stuff you recommend? As you have so courteously pointed out in the past, nobody reads this low wattage blog.

    Why not pimp your wares on your own blog dipshit?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  48. cboldt at #9 has a very interesting link. Be sure to check out all of the various letters with the same phrases used.

    Sue (2442a4)

  49. […] Gloria Elle writes to the Baltimore Chronicle — on the same page as Mark Spivey and Ellie Light: As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Still More Astroturfing: Gloria Elle and Jan Chen Write the Same Anti-Republican, Pro-Obama Letter (e4ab32)

  50. #29: Couldn’t YOU be using your time to point out that Obama wants to add 200,000 immigrants to the labor pool instead of whining about what Patterico is doing?

    Wouldn’t the same letter signed by 62 different names also be easy to spot as an astroturf campaign?

    And doesn’t it intrigue you at all how easy it was for her to get her letter published in over 60 publications?

    Funny all the comments now suggesting we turn our attention to something else. Don’t worry, Ellie and friends, we can multitask. But thanks for your concern for our well-being.

    w3bgrrl (12f86d)

  51. Speak for yourself, blah. Twice. The “better idea” is to expose The One and his Alinskyite thugs. And that’s what these good warriors are doing. The Truth is Out There…and it IS KNOWABLE.

    Uh, Clem (113b63)

  52. I think it’s important to note that people using the net to get news and info have been largely responsible for the ever shrinking circulation of daily and weekly newspapers. But there’s still a specific cadre of newspaper readers out there who are not net dependent. So, how does an amoral and sneaky political organization reach those older, trusting, die-hard newspaper readers? Why, by submitting seemingly sincere and well crafted propaganda “letters to the editor”, by Ellie and Mark of course. This disgusting astroturfing which is being so effectively exposed on the blogs must also somehow end up being exposed in print in papers across the land, so the original intended targets of the letters know about it, also. Will newpapers, especially the ones which were punked rise to the ethical challenge on their editorial pages?

    elissa (2faf0a)

  53. There’s something really creepy about people signing their names to a letter they purport to have written, but have not. It’s not signing a petition, and it’s not writing a letter. It’s . . . I don’t know what you’d call that.
    “Dittoheads” has already been used, I know.

    m (41b5c3)

  54. Patterico: Buzzflash? Are you serious?

    Buzzflash is a project fully operated by the public relations firm Mark Karlin & Associates.

    Mark Karlin & Associates is headquartered in Chicago.

    Mark Karlin & Associates is a firm that is often hired by the Brady Campaign and the Joyce Foundation to publicize misleading data about firearms ownership.

    WTFCI (8b7ab3)

  55. I believe we have something very fishy in the January 9, 2010 Letters page at The Baltimore Chronicle. I never heard of this paper before. Have you? More importantly, as Precinct Patriot observed above at #45, Ellie Light, Mark Spivey, Janet Leigh, and Mike Platz all have letters on the same page, and each letter appeared in other newspapers, and none of them have an address published.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Two other letter-writers with no address on that same page are named Jen Park and Lars Deerman.

    It seems that Jen Park’s letter (“I hear the Obama administration talk. . . “) appeared verbatim previously as a contrarian comment in a thread on August 20, 2009 at The American Spectator. Before that, it appeared verbatim four days earlier in the Deccan Herald but under the name of Lars Deerman. The Deccan Herald appears to be published in Bangalore, India.

    As for Lars Deerman, his January 9 letter to The Baltimore Chronicle appeared verbatim previously on August 11, 2009, in The Jewish Journal.

    Make a screenshot of the January 9, 2010 Baltimore Chronicle Letters page–in my opinion, it’s the mother lode.

    Official Internet Data Office (e46847)

  56. While I think 24Ahead’s comments were a bit gratuitously harsh and snarky, I do agree that the amateurish use of the same names by these letter-writers tends to suggest zealous Obama supporter(s) acting independently, rather than an effort orchestrated by the people who supposedly perfected Astroturfing.

    Not that Obama, Axelrod, et al wouldn’t approve of such tactics … I just think that if they were calling the shots, they’d at least have their letter-writers take the obvious measure of making up new fake names for each newspaper they sent their missives to.

    Alex (3a436a)

  57. Where in the world is Glen Greenwald?

    Javert (8dcbbf)

  58. Not only is this very “Goebbels-esque”, it is very Lenin-esque.” The first rule in the Vladamir Lenin playbook is “Accuse your enemies of that which you do.” Remember how they were always accusing the Tea partiers of being astroturf, when they weren’t? Well, that is because all the demoncrats know is using astroturf.

    Dan (1908fc)

  59. This behavior from zerobama and his administration is nothing more than a light version of soviet / sino tactics. He’s obviously using this more and more, so Americans (real Americans, not progressive liberals) need to watch out for this because it’s a step directly into the septic tank of PROGRESSIVISM.

    (Progressivism = liberalism * (communism^totalitarianism))= complete disaster

    Andy (eb858d)

  60. Official Internet Data Office

    I ate a woman.

    Javert (8dcbbf)

  61. Not bad for a single individual. Just think of how many rejects she got.

    Indeed. On the other hand, Donald Segretti may just have a quiet, admiring smile on his face.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  62. hey!I e-mail all the time to Bozo the Yellow Back, but none ever answered.

    daryl d duke (9d1bb3)

  63. I do agree that the amateurish use of the same names by these letter-writers tends to suggest zealous Obama supporter(s) acting independently

    That’s the big question in all this. How much of “Ellie Light” and “Mark Spivey” is connected to Democrat Party operatives and, in particular, the current White House? Or is the mass mailing the effort of a bunch of independent liberal activists working together?

    When Republicans tried a letter-writing campaign a few years ago, the initiative was presented on a GOP-managed web site and interested parties were instructed to take a form letter and just add their name and address (and/or phone number) and pass it on to a newspaper of their own choosing. That type of voluntary, individualized PR campaign is not unknown or uncommon when a particular cause is being promoted—although I’ve seen mass mailing applied more frequently to getting a POV delivered to the office of certain politicians.

    “Ellie Light,” by contrast, seems like a more mechanical, fully robotized, non-personal type of letter-writing setup. Was that because operatives in the Democrat Party didn’t want a variety of sympathetic followers to possibly muck up the secrecy of the effort?

    Mark (411533)

  64. Not that Obama, Axelrod, et al wouldn’t approve of such tactics … I just think that if they were calling the shots, they’d at least have their letter-writers take the obvious measure of making up new fake names for each newspaper they sent their missives to.

    On second thought, I was just reminded by a commenter at HotAir that these are, after all, the same people who held “town halls” full of local party hacks posing as ordinary citizens in the audience asking softball questions, and that this was easily uncovered by Googling their names.

    Could it be that they really are as unaware of the limitations of their own cleverness (“Wile E. Coyote, soooooooooper-genius”) as it sometimes appears?

    Alex (3a436a)

  65. exit strategy?

    Just exactly is a exit strategy?

    A premeditated provision to punk out?

    I just askin’

    Don (567ec6)

  66. 29 different States!?! Geeze, that leaves 28 States Ellie Light has to cover.

    Cate (a9ec0e)

  67. […] Who is Mark Spivey? (Both seem to fit with “sockpuppet” link […]

    The Holder File – Updated « Nuke Gingrich (c1f033)

  68. […] Who is Mark Spivey? (Both seem to fit with “sockpuppet” link […]

    The Holder File – Updated « Nuke Gingrich (bdd9c6)

  69. w3bgrrl, living up to my stereotype of Patterico’s commenters, says to me: Couldn’t YOU be using your time to point out that Obama wants to add 200,000 immigrants to the labor pool instead of whining about what Patterico is doing?

    I did use my time to do that above, and I’m using my time to do it again, and I used my time when I posted about this four days ago. It shouldn’t have been difficult to find: my main page is linked in the previous comment and the post about it is the fifth one from the top. And, now it’s the link under my name.

    One will also note that my earlier comment said: At the same time as this, maybe Patterico could take five minutes out and use his HotAir posting rights to [post about the 200,000]. In other words, I wasn’t suggesting dropping this and concentrating on something else. Instead, I was asking why Patterico can’t mention the 200,000, or at least get AllahPundit or one of his other buds to mention it, especially considering the fact that – when handled correctly – it could be used to make the BHO admin look bad. Frankly, I think there’s a good chance that Patterico, HotAir, and all the rest aren’t capable of handling it correctly, but I don’t have much of a choice.

    The post from four days ago (078238)

  70. 200K of aliens into the labor pool is nothing, same into the dole, but it all counts when the votes are tallied, and you can bet they will not be conservative votes.

    Javert (8dcbbf)

  71. BTW, I’m sure someone has looked into this, but that IP address (212.24.236.50) is apparently a known spam host. (It’s listed by Project Honeypot, amongst others) These sorts of servers are often compromised machines linked together to form bot-nets which are rented out by the hackers who created them, to spammers.

    The spammers, in turn often buy software that does a mail-merge from a list and fires the results off to a spam-net for distribution. Was the email to Ed customized in any way beyond simple $INSERT_NAME_HERE$ type mail-merge?

    If you had the right email-address list to do a merge, you could use one of these tools to email the letters-to-the-editor addy for every newspaper in North America with a mouse-click.

    Monsyne Dragon (8ab143)

  72. Time for a new word — a professional astroturfer is an astroturd.

    Sylvester (3c0b5a)

  73. […] Jump to Comments Just when I was really enjoying the Ellie Light controversy, I learn of the Mark Spivey […]

    Who Is Mark Spivey? « cara ellison (d9a4c0)

  74. First time commenter.

    I “bing”ed the IP address. It seems that it isn’t only used by “Ellie Light”, but that it is a mail server for spam mails. The first e-mails were sent from this address about 3 months ago. 705 e-mails so far.

    Here’s a link to a website that tracks spammers.

    IreneM (73f95d)

  75. Two points.

    First on the word “astroturf”. To the best of my knowledge, this term came from the White House and was used repeatedly to disparrage the Tea Party movement as not being “real” grass-roots but shills for insurance companies,etc. That they had this word first may betray an established organization to use this dishonest strategy.

    Second, I do not believe that the repeated use of identical senders’ names demonstrates a lack of White House involvement. Someone was crafting these messages, probably not the marquee-names that have been suggested but possibly a layer down. The person assembling the outbound e-mails was at least a level lower. Remember, this is not a White House famous for hiring on the basis of competence or intelligence but ideological purity. Consequently, their organization certainly becomes dumber and dumber the lower you reach. So someone struggling just to cut, paste and send might not even think that changing the name of the sender would be a good idea.

    Geosota (5ef029)

  76. […] It seems that there are some astroturfers out there to defend President Obama. Whenever something happens that reflects badly on the president, one Ellie Light pops up defending the good man against his detractors. Some conservative bloggers tried to figure out who Light is and traced his IP address back to… Saudi Arabia. […]

    Astroturfing for Obama | NewsReal Blog (d65a4c)

  77. […] Mark Spivey doesn’t appear to be quite as wealthy as Ellie Light. He appears in fewer newspapers with fewer addresses, but with the same pro-Obama letters. But you cannot deny his prodigious letter-writing campaign from his various homes. […]

    Liberal Prostitutes For Sale (Cheap) « Truth Before Dishonor (15b8a9)

  78. […] Mark Spivey doesn’t appear to be quite as wealthy as Ellie Light. He appears in fewer newspapers with fewer addresses, but with the same pro-Obama letters. But you cannot deny his prodigious letter-writing campaign from his various homes. […]

    Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » Liberal Prostitutes For Sale (Cheap) (73d96f)

  79. This smells a lot like a foreign intelligence operation.

    Karlito (8ac4ec)

  80. Patrick, when I clicked on the Naples News link I was sent to the UnionTribune page you linked to previously.

    Alan Kellogg (0981ab)

  81. […] has a cohort in crime named Mark Spivey. Patterico's Pontifications Who is Mark Spivey? Another Obama Astroturfer; UPDATED With Still Mo… You have to wonder if these letters can't be traced back to the basement at 1600 Pennsylvania […]

    Ellie Light's facebook page Found or Finally, the mystery has been found - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum (ee186a)

  82. “Time for a new word — a professional astroturfer is an astroturd.”

    I thikn “astroturf” is already “professional”

    “To the best of my knowledge, this term came from the White House and was used repeatedly to disparrage the Tea Party movement as not being “real” grass-roots but shills for insurance companies,etc. That they had this word first may betray an established organization to use this dishonest strategy.”

    Google the word and you’ll find it’s been around for a while.

    imdw (d8a0c2)

  83. […] what appears to be curiously similar letters-to-the-editor by “Ellen Light” and “Mark Spivey” appearing in publications all over the country – decrying the Republicans,  supporting […]

    The Letter Game – Missoulapolis (024b0e)

  84. […] getting so big and growing so fast, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. (More from Patterico here and […]

    Astroturf, Seattle Times Edition « It's Only Words (fb05f5)

  85. […] “Mark Spivey” has also been identified as a prolific letter-writer.  and it looks like there’s a […]

    an Ellie Light list « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi (3d8069)

  86. […] “Mark Spivey” has also been identified as a prolific letter-writer.  and it looks like there’s a […]

    an Ellie Light list « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi (3d8069)

  87. Is it Khalid al Mansour’s SA address?

    Just asking.

    Let me know if you trace some back to the
    Gaza phonebankers for Obama.

    Candy (3bb621)

  88. Geosota, the term “astroturf” has been in use for quite a few years.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  89. […] Spivey appeared in several places as well. And Ellie Light and Mark Spivey claimed residence in almost every publication to which they sent […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » The Recent Evidence of Astroturfing, Summarized (e4ab32)

  90. […] Gloria Elle writes to the Baltimore Chronicle — on the same page as Mark Spivey and Ellie Light: As one listens to the Republican anger over health care reform, one can imagine an […]

    PoliGazette » Tracking Letter Writer Gloria Elle Throughout Time (9bf351)

  91. Maybe he’s related to Joe … “I went hiking with Joe Spivy, He developed poison ivy” from Camp Granada by Allan Sherman. :o)

    Chrissy the Hyphenated (feb913)

  92. NOTE: The Naples News link above is to the San Diego. The correct link is:

    http://m.naplesnews.com/news/2009/nov/19/letters-editor-nov-20-2009/

    Chrissy the Hyphenated (feb913)

  93. “To the best of my knowledge, this term came from the White House and was used repeatedly to disparrage the Tea Party movement as not being “real” grass-roots but shills for insurance companies,etc. That they had this word first may betray an established organization to use this dishonest strategy.”

    unlike, say, imdw, you honestly pointed out that you didn’t know for sure and this was just your understanding.

    But yeah, astroturfing has been around since David Axelrod developed the practice years ago. It is worthwhile to note that Obama pointed to the TEA party as astroturf… he pointed to real Americans marching in the hundreds of thousands and showing up all over the country as astroturf. Meanwhile, his organization… the one he has already taken credit for, is actively astroturfing (And the proof is right here). An utter hypocrite who actually notes that astroturfing is dishonest and wrong while astroturfing.

    And you know what, since the democrat response to a democrat crime is always to claim it’s something the GOP did, I challenge the democrats to point to an example as widespread as this. A letter in 65 newspapers. Something that suggests a serious organization and help from the papers. It won’t matter to the hard left, because they are happy that the democrats are astroturfing. They’d be mad if they weren’t and will defend it, even by pretending the GOP is just as guilty.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  94. […] and was apolitical.  I sent that over to Patterico along with the source code, and he got some interesting information from […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Ellie Light speaks … and speaks … and speaks …. (e2f069)

  95. What if, at the next public appearance by Obama, people showed up with placards reading, “Who is Ellie Light and Mark Spivey?” That would be some awkward exposure of this fraud!

    sharmajee (3cf5d3)

  96. […] From Patterico who’s keeping track: Finally, the latest count for Ellie Light’s letter. It has appeared in at least 62 publications in 29 states and the District of Columbia; national publications and a Yahoo link; and 2 foreign publications. […]

    Tracking Elle Light « I Think ^(Link)…… (439d2a)

  97. I demand royalties!!

    They’re stealing my bit.

    Glenn Greenwald (538152)

  98. Ellie’s letter has appeared three times in the Sheboygan Press: as Ellie Light of Algoma on January 13, as Ellie Jeanne Light of Howards Grove on January 17, and as Ellie Jeanne Light of Oshkosh on January 21. From what I’ve heard she’s shown up in most of the Gannett papers in Wisconsin.

    Karen (db68e6)

  99. […] I wanted to make sure all of my California friends and citizen activists were aware of the extent of astroturfing (administration big-wigs preparing template statements that they provide to supporters, who then pass them off as genuine opinions expressed by “average Americans) that has been uncovered by a friend of this site Patterico’s Pontifications (please check the link as many updates and new posts on this subject are being posted regularly). Many of you may already be acquainted with “Ellie Light”, who sent identical anti-GOP/pro-Obama pieces to many newspapers — changing only the location, so that it would seem it was a local reader’s punditry. This letter appeared in many California new outlets, as chronicled here: Ellie Light’s Obama Letters. The San Diego Union Tribune was impacted. […]

    INVESTIGATIVE CITIZENS (and California Citizen Activists) « Temple of Mut (2b7e85)

  100. […] Little Miss Attila: Ellie Light and Her Brothers-in-Arms Patterico’s Pontifications: Who is Mark Spivey? Another Obama Astroturfer Michelle Malkin: The Astroturf Presidency // Discussion: The Prowler / American […]

    Sockpuppets Confused About Astroturf « his vorpal sword (661794)

  101. […] Spivey appeared in several places as well. And Ellie Light and Mark Spivey claimed residence in almost every publication to which they sent […]

    Who Is Ellie Light? Michelle Malkin on Hannity About Fake Pro-Obama Letter Published in Dozens of Newspapers: “Obama Administration Is ‘The Astroturf Presidency’” (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  102. […] Light: Obama Astroturfer?”. Patterico is covering the story here, here, here, here, and here. […]

    Round-up: January 26 « Liar's Dice (186bd9)

  103. Occam sez the reason for using the same name for every letter is making it easier to respond to verification phone calls. If you use too many aliases you increase the chance you’ll say ‘sorry wrong number’ by reflex when someone calls for the alias, especially if they don’t identify themselves as calling from a paper before asking for the ‘letter writer’. Explaining why the second phone call suddenly produces somebody that you apparently don’t know (or wasn’t holding the phone ten seconds ago) would be akward.

    From the number of hits, however, I’m betting the script that most editors use goes like this, ‘Hi, I’m Clark Kent from The Daily Fishwrapper. Is this Ellie who lives at 1313 Mockingbird Lane?” “Ellie, I’m calling to verify you wrote a letter to our paper.” “You did? Ok, Thanks!”

    DerHahn (25b0a3)

  104. “Occam sez the reason for using the same name for every letter is making it easier to respond to verification phone calls”

    Insightful. If you’re going to pull this off, a lot of aspects are greatly simplified by using the same name. Perhaps not in evasion, but in getting things printed.

    Perhaps he learned this via trial and error, when his prior efforts at mass syndication became too much to keep up with.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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