Paul D. Thacker, who is doing kick-ass work these days, brings us another sordid tale of corporate influence, faux-grassroots ("astroturf") organizations, misleading PR, and political chicanery.

I won’t ruin too much of it for you, but it focuses on the Save Our Species Alliance, an astroturf organization helping Rep. Richard "Dick" Pombo (R-Calif.) sneak through his "reforms" of the Endangered Species Act. Turns out SOSA has roots in Project Protect, a "grassroots" outfit that sank $2.9 million in advertising to back Bush’s Healthy Forests bill.

Make no mistake: Corporate interests and the Congressfolk they’ve purchased have made this kind of manipulation of public sentiment into a science. The only effective response is to uncover the connections and expose the mechanisms. Paul’s doing yeoman’s work on that score.

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