HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Saturday, April 01, 2017

 
Are you arguing about heathcare with a sockpuppet?


by Spocko

Sheri Lewis and Lamb Chop, a good sock puppet

I was out-of-town* away from electronic communications last week, when I got home I heard and read about the successes of all my various activist friends in the healthcare front. Good job folks!

To catch up I listened to Sam Seder and Digby for an analysis of the whole situation. The conversation started before the vote to repeal Obamacare happened, and ended right after they heard it failed.

As a time-traveling Vulcan I know how this will end, but for the rest of you it is good to hear Digby and Sam giving the correct analysis, which is, "Okay we beat this back. Now they will work to sabotage the rest." Digby and Sam also talk about how Trump and Ryan will work to sabotage the ACA. Because you know they will, but what specifically will they sabotage?

Here is what to expect, stories about:
  • ObamaCare fraud committed by PATIENTS (which is the rarest kind, but fits their bias of brown people getting something for nothing.)
  • "Ill-eagles" getting FREE healthcare
  • High premium costs for users (this one is legit, but came about because of the end of subsidies, something that could be remedied.)
  • Insurance companies leaving states with the BS reason that, "ObamaCare's a disaster" (the real reason, not enough fed and state money to make barrels of money--only buckets.) 
So where are we going to see these stories? The usually places, but this time they will also pop up in your own self-selected, online world. In fact, it probably already has.

Example: When I returned I read a story from NBC's Lester Holt on Facebook. It was shared by a friend. I was going to start replying to one of the commenters I knew. He was using a flawed premise with an Ayn Randian worldview. But since he does respond to facts and proof I did some research first. That's when I found dozens of "people" making the same type of comments.

Now this happens a lot when people are exposed to a steady diet of right-wing crap, but I noticed something different about these comments. The commenters were all pushing ideas that specifically benefited healthcare insurance companies. More research revealed 100's of similar accounts, making the same kind of comments, spread out over 5 months in the comments sections of various publications and websites. I had stumbled across a sockpuppet campaign for the healthcare insurance companies.

Woman posing in front
of future sockpuppet army

Good Sock Puppet = Lamb Chop

Following Citizens United one voice no longer represents just one vote. 100's of thousands of "voices" can now represent a handful of people. People think it will be easy to spot and ignore sockpuppets. Not so fast folks, this isn't the easily spotted sock puppet Lamb Chop.

In my case the story was a real one from NBC and it was shared by a real friend. In the comments real people were discussing it, sincerely. I didn't recognize all of the people discussing this, but I thought they must be friends of friends. I was going to engage, but first I looked up one person I was going to respond to. She was from San Antonio, had a military background and was a Republican. Okay, I know people like that, and it made sense she would say these things. But for some reason I decided to look a level down, that's when I found out she was a construct. An avatar. A sockpuppet.
"These sockpuppets don't have any real impact. Besides, they only influence stupid people. Serious people spot them and ignore them."
--Savvy McSavvyington [He ignored the impact of talk radio too.]
First, do not dismiss sockpuppets as inconsequential
These sockpuppets can influence others, who then make the same points. These messages come via a channel that they trust, making them more powerful. Sockpuppets can be subtle, they don't have to start ideas to influence, just reinforce those of real voices.

Facebook provides an excellent way to inject these ideas into self-isolating, self-reinforcing sub-groups. (You know those strange requests to be friends with someone you don't really know, but has one mutual friend? That's how they get into these groups.) The people in these groups then spread these ideas to people who wouldn't normally see them, like friends and family.



BTW, Homeland just included a storyline about sockpuppets. It was filled with lots of exposition about it and all the laws that were being broken--if it came from within the government. But these healthcare insurance sockpuppets aren't coming from governments. They are coming from private companies, who keep their clients' identities private.
These healthcare insurance companies spend millions to keep the spice money flowing. I know this not from my time traveling, but from listening to the actual financial conference calls of health insurance companies, reading the required reports of public drug companies and talking to insurance experts like my friend Wendell Potter. (I'm looking forward to his new non-profit, Tarbell, investigating this.)
There is public information that these healthcare insurance companies all got assurances from Republicans that they were going to get at least 18 months where nothing would impact their positive cash flow. This includes guarantees of no cuts in drug profits. And they got what they wanted.

The truth is out there, it's just not tweeted.


Newly created sock puppets ready to decieve.
Will they push healthcare insurance company
propaganda, or climate change denial? 

What this means is that healthcare insurance companies were allies in keeping the ACA going. Especially the parts that kept money flowing to them.

Now they will pivot to figuring out ways to "improve the ACA" and by improve I mean get rid of anything that costs them money. They will hire the usual paid protesters (aka lobbyists) to bring back lifetime caps and to kick people with pre-existing conditions out of the insurance pool. They will frame this as "relief" from the horrible regulations of Obamacare. They will claim it is bankrupting them so they have to leave states and exchanges (specifically the ones that aren't subsidized.) Then, in the next quarterly conference call, they will tell investors the steady infusion of government cash will not stop and profits are steady.

The push to "fix" the parts of ACA that COSTS healthcare insurance companies money will happen out of the headlines and at super PAC fundraisers. Now that Trump, Ryan and the Freedom Cactus did us a favor by bringing the benefits of ACA to the surface, the healthcare insurance lobbyists will hire firms to push the parts of Obamacare they reluctantly accepted, like removal of lifetime caps and being forced to accept people with pre-existing conditions. They will also employ an army of sockpuppets.

Coming next. "Exposing Sockpuppets."

Spocko, Creative Commons Attribution and sharealike license
Desert Cactus from *Anza Borrego
 during super bloom.  
Not to be confused 
with the Freedom Cactus.