Showing posts with label Glenn Beck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glenn Beck. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Don't want no, don't want no, don't want no GBTV

Glenn Beck's planned Internet pay-TV scheme might fly in Montana or Ohio or Utah, but I can't see it being the motherlode for him or anything.

It likely will be a load of something, though.

But Mr. Beck knows everything and I don't, and there are lots of tea partiers who have a strong hankerin' for loads of something -- the more fragrant the better -- so what the hell do I know?

HERE'S WHAT The New York Times is reporting today:
Glenn Beck is planning to charge his fans a monthly subscription for his daily talk show online starting this summer, as he makes the move from being a Fox News host to the owner of his own Internet network.

On Tuesday, Mr. Beck will announce a first-of-its-kind effort to take a popular — but also fiercely polarizing — television show and turn it into its own subscription enterprise. It is an adaptation of the business models of both HBO and Netflix for one man’s personal brand — and a huge risk, as he and his staff members acknowledged in interviews in recent days.

“I think we might be a little early,” Mr. Beck said of his plan for the Internet network, called GBTV, which will cost $5 to $10. “But I’d rather be ahead of the pack than part of it.”

The business decision by Mr. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, hinges on an expectation that more and more people will figure out how to view online shows on their TV sets through set-top boxes and video game consoles — and that they will subscribe directly to their favorite brands.

LIKE I SAID, maybe some people will pay for this. Others won't. Probably not enough for Beck to afford to up his meds.

All I know is that if I want to go and watch crazy, I can go back home to the Gret Stet of Louisiana and see all I want for free.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

It all makes sense if you're nuts

Punxsutawney, Pa., is all snowed in, and Phil, being a sensible groundhog, refuses to come out and see (or not see) anything, so America has been forced to go to Plan B.

So . . . Glenn Beck has come out from under the rock where he keeps his survivalist provisions, only to see the shadow of

It works something like this. Hang on to something.

Tunisia is in flames because the Muslins are unhappy. That spread to Egypt, which is going down. That's spreading to Jordan, where there are riots, and it's going down. Libya's in flames, too, which the lamestream media isn't going to tell you about, because it's run by the Muslins, or communists, or Nazis or something.

Yemen's in flames, and so is Pakistan, but he's run out of little flamey magnet thingies to put on the chalkboard, so trust us on this. Iran's in flames, and that means they're going to come after Saudi Arabia, another of our "frenemies," because them Saudi royals are hardcore scumbags, who you know have to be shaking in their sandals while their camels are scared spitless.

And then you got Lebanon . . . in flames. The Gaza strip . . . in flames. But the Muslin Brotherhood Muslins hate the Hezbollah Muslins who are just like the Iranian Shiite Muslins, so they're canceling one another out or something . . . but they all have it in for the Jews in Israel.

SO YOU GOT the Shiites pushing on Israel one way and the Sunnis pushing on Israel the other, and the Chinamen is thinkin' . . . "WHOA! KNOCK THAT STUFF OFF, MAHMOUD!"

And then the Chinamen go
"Ching chong ching chong chang bing bong sham-a-lama-ding-dong. . . ." Oh, wait, that's what Rush Limbaugh said the Chinese said, so never mind. . . .

Anyway, you got China pushing one way, and then the flames spread to Spain, which is on fire, and come to think of it, so is Great Britain and Ireland . . . FIRE! . . . and you don't think the radical Islamists in England and France are going to sit on their hands with all that fire all over the chalkboard, do you?

SEE, you got flamey chaos in the Middle East, and China's pushing west. And then you got abject flames on the chalkboard that is Europe --
no, look, there's Europe on a chalkboard -- and Russia's gonna start moving on Europe thataway, because the Muslins blowed s*** up in Moscow, and what that shows us is that what Tunisia really is is Sarajevo 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand got offed by Gavrilo Princip, which started World War I, because everybody's pushing on Israel, and the Jews got the Bomb now.

We'll have more on how
This Is All Gonna Blow Up Good right after these messages from Goldline and Food Insurance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It'$ a Wonderful Life in 'the real Bedford Fall$'

Wednesday in Wilmington, Ohio . . . unemployment rate 15.8 percent:

Glenn Beck Meet & Greet Breakfast
and Radio Show Ticket Package

Breakfast and Meet & Greet at 7AM
Radio Show at 9AM
Ticket Price:

Package Includes:
* Breakfast at the General Denver Hotel
* Meet & Greet with Glenn Beck
* Photo with Glenn Beck
* Premium Ticket to the live Radio Show Broadcast at the Murphy Theatre

All Ages
Reserved Seating

Glenn Beck Live Radio Show Broadcast

Doors: 8:00AM
Radio Show: 9:00AM (Must be seated by 8:45AM sharp)

Ticket Price:

All Ages
Reserved Seating

HAT TIP: PoliticusUSA.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

America 2010: A tragedy in four acts

Sorry, Glenn. In this case, "puppetmaster" George Soros was right.

"A 1957 movie -- made by a communist, appropriately"
-- Soros' alleged "gift" for Glenn Beck. That is, according to Beck. You see, Soros thinks the Fox News Channel's resident paranoiac is the real-life "Lonesome" Rhodes from A Face in the Crowd, Elia Kazan's 1957 "communist" classic.

According to Beck.

Well, heck. It must be true, the John Birch Society's magazine is picking up Beck's "exposé" of Soros and running with it.

OK, DOES Andy Griffith's character remind you of anyone here? Anyone at all?

Substitute Goldline for Vitajex, Lonesome's sponsor in the film. Anything come to mind now?

THANK GOD that the ultimate faith of "Lonesome" Beck's followers rests in the United States Constitution -- not a TV host. At least if Beck starts to steer them astray, the foundational document of our democratic republic -- and Tea Party America's exhaustive knowledge of it -- will be there to steer them (and us) away from the brink of something really nasty.

OH, S***.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Congrats, tea party! U R tops! Love, the 'Oligarhs'

Outside big-money interest groups.

Lining candidates' pockets with money.

In the shadows, away from public scrutiny.

Giving gobs of cash to the likes of Karl Rove.

Angry because Barack HUSSEIN Obama and Democrats in Congress want to hike tax rates on what hedge funds pay their partners.

Republicans are the beneficiaries of the money.

Handing -- by anti-"oligarhy" voters, no less -- of House control to "oligarhs" who just want to co-opt "pro-liberty" voters in order preserve their ability to profit by gaming the political system.

THAT'S RIGHT, patriots. You've been had.

Glenn Beck won't tell you, but NBC News just has:
A tightly coordinated effort by outside Republican groups, spearheaded by Karl Rove and fueled by tens of millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street hedge fund moguls and other wealthy donors, helped secure big GOP midterm victories Tuesday, according to campaign spending figures and Republican fundraising insiders.

Leading the GOP spending pack was a pair of groups — American Crossroads and its affiliate, Crossroads GPS — both of which were co-founded by two former aides in the George W. Bush White House: Rove, and Ed Gillespie.

Together, the groups — which are not formally part of the Republican Party — spent more than $38 million on attack ads and campaign mailings against Democrats, according to figures compiled by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign spending in congressional races.

A substantial portion of Crossroads GPS’ money came from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls, according to GOP fundraising sources who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity. These donors have been bitterly opposed to a proposal by congressional Democrats — and endorsed by the Obama administration — to increase the tax rates on compensation that hedge funds pay their partners, the sources said.

A scorecard compiled by NBC News shows the ad barrage appeared to mostly pay off: Republican candidates won nine of the 12 Senate races and 14 of 22 House races where American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS spent money.

That had the groups’ leaders gloating Wednesday about what they described as their pivotal role in the election results.
SUCKERS. There's one born every minute, and there's a world of "oligarhs" out there ready, able and bankrolled enough to pull the wool over the eyes of every last one of them.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dismantling Glenn Beck

What we need is an Academy Award for Best Internet Mash-Up Video of Cartoon Clips Adapted to Make Fun of Talk-Show Goobers Who Really Have It Coming.

If we had such an Oscar -- and the sad fact that we don't is some sort of indictment on American society -- it would go to this one. "This one" is called Right Wing Radio Duck, and it hits Glenn Beck and the perpetually pissed peeps of the tea-party movement where they live.

Oh, and it's funny as hell, too.

Jonathan McIntosh, to be succinct, is a freakin' genius. Here's part of how he describes Right Wing Radio Duck's plot:
Donald’s life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is contained in the video's 7:46 of searing social criticism from Rebellious Pixels.

Has Glenn Beck attacked McIntosh as a "socialist" yet?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Red Scare: It's baaaaaack!

I was born into a world in the process of losing its . . . stuff.

We refer to this period of American history as the Red Scare. We were scared of Stalin -- and then Khrushchev -- over in the Soviet Union. We were scared of Castro in Cuba. We were scared of "infiltrator" Alger Hiss in the State Department.

The beatniks? Commies. Civil-rights "agitators?" Commies. Martin Luther King Jr.? Dangerous commie troublemaker. Race riots? Instigated by . . . commies.

The media were commies, college professors were commies, folk singers were commies, and the labor unions were commie through and through.

We were obsessed by The Bomb -- which we invented and first used -- because the commies had obtained it, too. In their nefarious, murderous Red hands, it was a weapon of mass terror.

In our hands, it was how God kept the world in line . . . and capitalism safe.

In the world of the Red Scare, rock 'n' roll was a communist plot -- the pinko sons of bitches invented the teenager, after all -- and Mick Jagger was the devil. (No, look at the man!)

HERE'S where we stood somewhere around 1963:

TODAY, the Soviet Union is no more. The Iron Curtain has fallen, and capitalism has seized the day. Even in "Red China." Markets are global, and the bankers really do have more money than God.

And the Red Scare is back.

Who is the Red Menace today? Well, I can tell you we seem to be quite concerned -- to put it mildly -- about the president of the United States. Who is a Kenyan Muslim communist tribesman (or something like that).

We likewise worry about the secretary of state, who's a fellow traveler. And the Justice Department. And, of course, we still get lower GI disturbances at the mention of those venerable pinko warhorses of modern history -- Castro, the media and the labor unions.

The Red Menace has been enshrined.
It has ascended.

THEY TRIED to tell us in 1947. And 1957. And even 1967.

I guess we didn't listen.

Now it's up to tea-party members and other apoplexy victims like Glenn Beck -- he of the only non-commie TV channel out there, the Fox News Channel -- to lead the resistance. Lead the resistance against the government the commies and their fellow travelers TRICKED us into ELECTING in 2008.

ARE YOU STARTING to think you're seeing déja vu all over again?

Glenn Beck is to the Red Scare what the new Hawaii Five-O is to the old Hawaii Five-O, only with angry conspiracy theorists.

I withdraw that statement. The new Hawaii Five-O, I am told, has new scripts. The producers of the show aren't planning on a word-for-word rehash.

And nobody's trying to elect Dano to the U.S. Senate.

The frightening thing about this new Red Scare is the same frightening thing about the last one. The panicked, angry masses and their cynical zealots-in-chief are ready, willing and able to burn down this entire village in order to "save" it.

In their minds -- or at least in their tea-party rhetoric -- "socialism" is so God-awful that we ought to be willing to burn down the framework of constitutional rule and the civilizing influences of commonweal in order to protect a notion of "God-given" liberty that, in the fever swamp of the angry-mob mindset, comes out more like "Do what thou wilt . . . except what we don't like." And your mileage may vary.

"Communism" is so godless and evil that any extreme action to oppose it is not only justified, but perhaps mandatory. Ask J. Edgar Hoover.

LIKE THE paranoid times of my entry into this mortal coil, this present Red-baiting moment finds angry people making idols of what they see as the opposite of their devil. The "commie" devil.

If "socialism" is bad, doing away with all "government-run" programs and social safety nets must be good. If "welfarism" is bad, a laissez-faire dose of social Darwinism must be virtuous and right -- especially as we languish amid the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Not only that, but the Red Scare becomes cover for all our demons and prejudices. Civil-rights "agitators" were, back in the day, a bunch of America-hating Reds, after all. And kicking a man while he's down can be seen as some sort of virtuous act, because we all know that "social justice" and "social religion" are just snooty names for . . . communism!

Thus, condoning racism can be just another manner of expressing one's innate "Americanism." Ees thees gret country or vhat?

Commies bad. Saying the N-word 11 times straight on nationwide radio good, because you're just combating "political correctness."

Face it, when you're up against the Other, and the Other is a freedom-hating, pinko, commie godless Muslim, and you're fighting for your life -- literally, you've been told by that man on the television -- it's war.

And we all know what they say about love and war.

But that's OK. There are no atheists in foxholes -- especially not in this foxhole -- and the patriot surveys the carnage he has wrought upon civil society and the body politic, and he is at peace in the knowledge that God is on his side.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

F*** stuff

God bless the Landless Peasant Party.

And God save Angus X, wherever he might be after his unfortunate loss in the British national elections this spring.

An old friend was musing about the present doings of Land Is Power -- the party annual meeting is coming up Saturday at an Edinburgh cafe -- so I wandered over to the website of Angus X and the landless peasants . . . and found an amazing video.

No, really. That's it above --
The Story of Stuff. Please watch it.

WHEN I was watching this amazing presentation by Annie Leonard, I thought "This is pure Catholic social-justice kind of stuff here. I'll bet Glenn Beck hates it." And sure enough. . . .

Gosh, I feel so dumb now. The conservative ubercapitalists quickly reassured me by saying market efficiency and ongoing miniaturization will solve many of the problems of the sustainability and disposal of our abundant stuff.

Besides, we have a whole planet to be mined. We've barely scratched the surface. Why, if we mine deep enough -- through the earth's crust and well into the mantle, which we could do as technology advances -- we could have all the raw materials we need to make more and more stuff.

Deep extraction, that's the ticket. What could go wrong with that?

Like I said, The Story of Stuff is pretty standard Catholic social teaching. Don't believe me, look it up.

This little fact -- in addition to making Glenn Beck even crazier than usual -- also is likely to dismay one of the film's producers, the Tides Foundation, which believes we can best care for the poor and powerless of the world by helping them abort their poor and powerless offspring.

Sigh . . .
in a fallen world, nobody bats 1.000. Well, at least fetuses are biodegradable, right?

WE NOW return you to Angus X, who remains not safe for work . . . or the kids. But kind of spot on, nevertheless.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Schools aren't St. Helena's cup of tea

Welcome to Tea Party America.

When Mr. Beck goes to Washington to proclaim a Christian revival and preach the gospel of self-reliance and responsibility, in places like St. Helena Parish, La., that translates into "God helps those who help themselves." And in Louisiana, that may not mean what you think it does.

For example, in St. Helena Parish, God helps white parents who "help themselves" -- and their kids -- to private-school educations, oftentimes across the parish line. The Almighty also helps blacks -- who make up 95.1 percent of public-school enrollment despite comprising 53 percent the parish's population -- to facilities with crumbling walls, exposed wiring, filthy lunchrooms, sewer lines lying in open trenches . . . and snakes in the restroom.

Conditions are so bad that a federal judge has ordered parts of the parish's three schools cordoned off. And the state fire marshal wants fire alarms and electrical wiring fixed in 30 days.

THE PARISH'S civic culture (if you can call it that) is so dysfunctional that voters have shot down four school-tax measures in three years. This has led U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to consider raising the property tax by fiat.

Tea-party types are, of course, outraged. Not about children attending class in fetid, dangerous conditions, but instead about "taxation without representation," says the Lincoln Parish News Online blog:
St. Helena Parish is about to form a tea party to fight precisely what our forefathers fought over 200 years ago – taxation without representation. Alton Travis, a 12-year St. Helena school board member, has begun preliminary efforts to organize a group. “I’ve made some phone calls and I’m putting together a contact list,” Travis said.

Mr. Travis spoke earlier today with Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) from his home near Kentwood.

Last week, LPNO had reported about U. S. District Judge James Brady’s plans to impose a tax upon St. Helena residents without a vote. Brady is the former chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Travis said he has been in contact with the Baton Rouge Tea Party (BRTP) for help in organizing a group in St. Helena Parish. “I really don’t know why we’re talking about this,” said Travis in reference to taxes imposed by a judge contrary to voter’s wishes. “Things like that shouldn’t even be contemplated.”

Parish voters had previously turned down several attempts to pass new school taxes. On May 1, parish voters rejected a 55 mil property tax by a 62% margin. The tax issue has gone back over twenty years, according to Travis, and has been voted upon at least a dozen times.

Some have tried to portray a negative vote on school taxes as a racist vote, but as the parish is 52% black, it is clear that many blacks voted no on the tax. LPNO readers will recall how last fall’s defeat of a Baton Rouge tax was painted as “racist” by The (Baton Rouge) Advocate.

LEAVE IT to tea partiers to talk of "responsibility" to others while abdicating responsibility wholesale in their own back yards. The problem here is not a rogue federal judge potentially usurping beleaguered citizens' constitutional rights; the problem here is that selfish, irresponsible citizens hide behind self-government guarantees to carry out racially disproportionate child neglect, and do so with impunity.

The problem in Southern cesspools like St. Helena Parish, La., is not that the constitutional order has been usurped. The problem is that, in the wake of the Civil War, the feds ended Reconstruction about 50 years too soon.

Shame is a scarce commodity in St. Helena, and the latest story from
The Advocate is proof:
A report from the fire marshal is one of three reports from state agencies citing problems in St. Helena Parish public schools.

Air vents are causing contamination in the cafeteria of St. Helena Central Elementary School, a report by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals states.

A state Department of Environmental Quality report cites problems of asbestos, mold-like substances and ceiling leaks in parish schools.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered inspections and reports on the schools.

The condition of the schools has become an issue in a 57-year-old desegregation lawsuit involving the St. Helena Parish school system.

Daisy Slan, the superintendent of parish schools, said Monday afternoon she needs help — mainly in the form of modular classrooms — as quickly as possible.

She said she is trying to get contractor quotes, but doesn’t see how she can meet the Fire Marshal’s deadline.

In addition to the age and condition of the main high-school structure, Slan said, “the problem is that we have buildings scattered all across the campus.”

Some of those buildings aren’t suitable for use as classrooms in their current condition, Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning said Monday.

The fire alarms and electrical issues are serious problems, he said.

The high school is being allowed to continue to operate for 30 days as long as it conducts regular fire watches and keeps logs of those fire watches, Browning said.
LISTEN NOT to what Glenn Beck and Friends proclaimed on the same Lincoln Memorial steps Martin Luther King spoke from 47 years before. Watch instead what the audience to whom they pander does when no one is looking.

Like neglect its own children -- or at least black children -- leaving them to languish in rotting buildings, amid all manner of contamination and be taught by grossly underpaid teachers.

Unsurprisingly, test scores are in the toilet. Along with the snakes.

Down there in Tea Party America.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Not 'recognizing his version of Christianity'

Mighty big talk for an alcoholic Mormon former pot- and cokehead, whose religion is a mishmash of at least two of the big early-Christian heresies filtered through -- according to Joseph Smith, at least -- a resurrected ancient Indian in New York state:
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck voiced sharper criticism of President Obama's religious beliefs on Sunday than he and other speakers offered from the podium of the rally Beck organized at the Lincoln Memorial a day earlier.

During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," which was filmed after Saturday's rally, Beck claimed that Obama "is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor-and-victim."

"People aren't recognizing his version of Christianity," Beck added.
THAT'S THE first part of a piece in today's Washington Post outlining exactly how much nerve the crew-cutted one possesses. But wait . . . it gets better:
Beck, on his Fox News show last Tuesday, said that liberation theology is at the core of Obama's "belief structure."

"You see, it's all about victims and victimhood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation. I don't know what that is, other than it's not Muslim, it's not Christian. It's a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it," Beck said.
YEAH . . . and if Mr. Beck keeps up his cable-TV perversion of Christianity in the name of ratings, profit and politics, he may just find out that hell is a lot more permanent than his religion would have us believe.

if Hurricane Earl smacks into Washington, D.C., and drowns the whole place under a 25-foot storm surge right up the gut of the Potomac, can we assume it's because God is quite irate over Beck's little "revival"? You know, just like He wiped out New Orleans because of its debauchery.

Just asking.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The jawing of an ass

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck as the inheritors of Martin Luther King's legacy?

Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck as the catalysts for the moment America "begins to turn back to God”?

Something smells. And I "refudiate" it.

Because the gospel according to Palin and Beck is what "refudiate" is to "repudiate," and it comes off just as ridiculously.

Leave it to Glenn Beck to trumpet how his gigantic publicity stunt -- and profit generator for Beck, Inc. -- is the beginning of a grand American revival, all the while publicly "refudiating" large parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ as "socialism" or "Nazism" -- or both, as he seems to view social-justice doctrine.

For example,
this was Beck in March:
"I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"
AND THIS is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (and has been for a long, long time):


1928 Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority.


1929 Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate end of society, which is ordered to him:

What is at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.35

1930 Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority: by flouting them, or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy.36 If it does not respect them, authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from its subjects. It is the Church's role to remind men of good will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted or false claims.

1931 Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as 'another self,' above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity."37 No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a "neighbor," a brother.

1932 The duty of making oneself a neighbor to others and actively serving them becomes even more urgent when it involves the disadvantaged, in whatever area this may be. "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."38

1933 This same duty extends to those who think or act differently from us. The teaching of Christ goes so far as to require the forgiveness of offenses. He extends the commandment of love, which is that of the New Law, to all enemies.39 Liberation in the spirit of the Gospel is incompatible with hatred of one's enemy as a person, but not with hatred of the evil that he does as an enemy.

IT GOES ON like this for some number of pages. Including this:

1939 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of "friendship" or "social charity," is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.45
An error, "today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity."46
1940 Solidarity is manifested in the first place by the distribution of goods and remuneration for work. It also presupposes the effort for a more just social order where tensions are better able to be reduced and conflicts more readily settled by negotiation.

BUT NO, this imminent -- but not eminent -- Christian revival is going to be sparked by a screwball demagogue who denies whole parts of the Christian gospel that answer the question "How shall we live, then?" Him and the tea-party darling, a gun-totin', babealicious Alaskan dingbat whose mind freezes up every time she's called upon to use it, and whose mangling of the king's English makes Yogi Berra sound like Sir Lawrence Olivier.

Don't believe me, however. Believe what's in your morning newspaper, in this case
The New York Times:
An enormous and impassioned crowd rallied at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, summoned by Glenn Beck, a conservative broadcaster who called for a religious rebirth in America at the site where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech 47 years ago to the day.

“Something that is beyond man is happening,” Mr. Beck said in opening the event as the crowd thronged near the memorial grounds. “America today begins to turn back to God.”

It was part religious revival, part history lecture, as Mr. Beck invoked the founding fathers and the “black-robed regiment” of pastors of the Revolutionary War and spoke of American exceptionalism.

The crowd was a mix of groups that have come together under the Tea Party umbrella. Some wore T-shirts from the Campaign for Liberty, the libertarian group that came out of the presidential campaign of Representative Ron Paul, while others wore the gear of their local Tea Party group, or of 9/12 groups, which were founded after a special broadcast Mr. Beck did in March 2009.

But the program was distinctly different from most Tea Party rallies. While Tea Party groups have said they want to focus on fiscal conservatism and not risk alienating people by talking about religion or social issues, the rally on Saturday was overtly religious, filled with gospel music and speeches that were more like sermons.

Mr. Beck imbued his remarks on Saturday and at events the night before with references to God and a need for a religious revival. “For too long, this country has wandered in darkness,” Mr. Beck said Saturday. “This country has spent far too long worrying about scars and thinking about scars and concentrating on scars. Today, we are going to concentrate on the good things in America, the things that we have accomplished, and the things that we can do tomorrow.”

Mr. Beck was followed on stage by Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, who said she was asked, in keeping with the theme of the day, not to focus on politics but to speak as the mother of a soldier.

“Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet, and you can’t take that away from me,” said Ms. Palin, whose son Track served in Iraq.

But Ms. Palin did not steer entirely clear of politics. In a veiled reference to President Obama and his pledges to fundamentally transform America, she said, “We must not fundamentally transform America as some would want; we must restore America and restore her honor.”

Many in the crowd said they had never been to a Tea Party rally, but they described themselves as avid Glenn Beck fans, and many said they had been motivated to come by faith.
RESTORE AMERICA? Restore her honor?

Just what the Holy Ghost does that have to do with "turning back to God"? The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a utilitarian scheme -- and it just may be that the divine purposes of the Almighty involve humbling America and destroying her "honor."

And obviously, the honor-obsessed Mr. Weepy is unfamiliar with the term "the scandal of the gospel." Or, as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth long, long ago:
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside."
Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
THOUGH ONE certainly can argue that Beck and Palin -- and any number of tea-party types-- be pluperfect fools, when we go to the videotape, the record hardly shows Caribou Barbie and this cable-TV equivalent of a carnival geek to be "fools for Christ."

Actually, Jesus Himself warned us about what we witnessed in Washington on Saturday. Look in Matthew -- or, as I learned through hard experience to tell Catholics teens in youth group,
the first part of the last third of the Bible:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”
OR by their fruitcakes, as the case may be.

Somehow, the following seems like it wasn't just 47 years ago, but also a billion miles away:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bomb-throwers and pyros for America

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Everybody knows the game our self-proclaimed "patriots" are playing with "Obama's a Muslim" and the self-righteous faux outrage over "the Ground Zero terror mosque."

Everybody except, of course, the willing dupes who comprise the intended target of the GOP brass, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and all those who define themselves through their rage.

It's all about hate; it's all about fear; it's all about paranoia. It also is all about politics and the upcoming midterm elections.

What it's also about is playing with fire. It's about ginning up a mob to demand that the federal government . . . New York city government . . . hell, anybody tear down the whole edifice of our constitutional rule in the name of saving the republic from The Other.

The cynical right wants us all to become a lynch mob to save ourselves from terrorism, which is related -- somehow -- to America's first black, socialist, Nazi Muslim president. Or something like that.

It's not exactly a credit to our cultural and democratic
bona fides that the vast majority of Americans fail to see the deep and toxic irony of this.

INSTEAD, every time I log on to Facebook, I am confronted with the sidebar list of how many family members, friends and old classmates "like" Glenn Beck.

Like Glenn Beck, like his message. Unfortunately, Beck's message is both bats*** crazy and racially incendiary.

As you know, I grew up in the Deep South -- south Louisiana to be exact. I know what that was all about 40 and 50 years ago, and what it is still too much about now.

I can't judge anybody's heart today -- especially folks I haven't seen in years, decades even -- but I know how a lot of them were raised.
I know how I was raised.

I know what was in the cultural air we breathed. How we never gave our assumptions, or those of the society around us, a second thought as we took spiritual Corexit into our hearts and minds. I know that such enculturation can be nearly inexorable, because when you're raised that way from birth, the poison gets into that space between visceral reaction and engagement of the conscience and the mind.

SCRATCH THE SURFACE of my home state, Louisiana, and you'll quickly get to a very bad place. Do the same in any part of America, and you're likely to find varying states of the same collective id.

They say the devil's greatest trick is to convince us he doesn't exist. He just hides in our crooked hearts as our overconfidence congratulates itself on what good, moral, patriotic and God-fearing works of art we have become.

Yet the lynch mob sings "Onward Christian Soldiers" as "the better angels of our nature" twist in the wind, strange fruit of a demagogue's tree.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sarah Palin is the B-side of Timothy Leary

Mark Lilla, in the latest New York Review of Books, looks at the tea-party movement and -- by Jove! -- absolutely figures it out.

If I may be so bold as to summarize this amazing piece of commentary
(and do go here and read the whole thing), it goes something like this: We Americans, bastard offspring of the coupling of the sexual revolution and Gordon Gekko, think John Donne was full of beans.

We also aren't too sure about the Judeo-Christian doctrine of the Fall. Except when it comes to "big government" -- we think gummint types got their share of original sin . . . and ours, too.

BUT DON'T listen to me, read Lilla's extraordinary piece:
A little over a decade ago I published an article in these pages titled “A Tale of Two Reactions” (May 14, 1998). It struck me then that American society was changing in ways conservative and liberal commentators just hadn’t noticed. Conservatives were too busy harping on the cultural revolution of the Sixties, liberals on the Reagan revolution’s “culture of greed,” and all they could agree on was that America was beyond repair.

The American public, meanwhile, was having no trouble accepting both revolutions and reconciling them in everyday life. This made sense, given that they were inspired by the same political principle: radical individualism. During the Clinton years the country edged left on issues of private autonomy (sex, divorce, casual drug use) while continuing to move right on economic autonomy (individual initiative, free markets, deregulation). As I wrote then, Americans saw “no contradiction in holding down day jobs in the unfettered global marketplace…and spending weekends immersed in a moral and cultural universe shaped by the Sixties.” Democrats were day-trading, Republicans were divorcing. We were all individualists now.

What happened? People who remember the article sometimes ask me this, and I understand why. George W. Bush, who ran on a platform of “compassionate conservatism,” seemed attuned to the recent social changes. The President Bush who emerged after September 11 took his party and the country back to the divisive politics of earlier decades, giving us seven years of ideological recrimination. By the time of the last presidential campaign, millions were transfixed not by the wisdom or folly of Barack Obama’s policy agenda, but by absurd rumors about his birth certificate and his “socialism.” Now he has been elected president by a healthy majority and is grappling with a wounded economy and two foreign wars he inherited—and what are we talking about? A makeshift Tea Party movement whose activists rage against “government” and “the media,” while the hotheads of talk radio and cable news declare that the conservative counterrevolution has begun.

It hasn’t. We know that the country is divided today, because people say it is divided. In politics, thinking makes it so. Just as obviously, though, the angry demonstrations and organizing campaigns have nothing to do with the archaic right–left battles that dragged on from the Sixties to the Nineties. The populist insurgency is being choreographed as an upsurge from below against just about anyone thought to be above, Democrats and Republicans alike. It was galvanized by three things: a financial collapse that robbed millions of their homes, jobs, and savings; the Obama administration’s decision to pursue health care reform despite the crisis; and personal animosity toward the President himself (racially tinged in some regions) stoked by the right-wing media.1 But the populist mood has been brewing for decades for reasons unrelated to all this.

Many Americans, a vocal and varied segment of the public at large, have now convinced themselves that educated elites—politicians, bureaucrats, reporters, but also doctors, scientists, even schoolteachers—are controlling our lives. And they want them to stop. They say they are tired of being told what counts as news or what they should think about global warming; tired of being told what their children should be taught, how much of their paychecks they get to keep, whether to insure themselves, which medicines they can have, where they can build their homes, which guns they can buy, when they have to wear seatbelts and helmets, whether they can talk on the phone while driving, which foods they can eat, how much soda they can drink…the list is long. But it is not a list of political grievances in the conventional sense.

Historically, populist movements use the rhetoric of class solidarity to seize political power so that “the people” can exercise it for their common benefit. American populist rhetoric does something altogether different today. It fires up emotions by appealing to individual opinion, individual autonomy, and individual choice, all in the service of neutralizing, not using, political power. It gives voice to those who feel they are being bullied, but this voice has only one, Garbo-like thing to say: I want to be left alone.

A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now. Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century. It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that. This is the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets.

Welcome to the politics of the libertarian mob.
LIBERTARIAN MOB. That's about it.

We can't agree on anything in this country, except that we're God. Well, I'm God . . . or at least
a god, if not the God. You, you're the spawn of Satan.
Today’s conservatives prefer the company of anti-intellectuals who know how to exploit nonintellectuals, as Sarah Palin does so masterfully.16 The dumbing-down they have long lamented in our schools they are now bringing to our politics, and they will drag everyone and everything along with them. As David Frum, one of the remaining lucid conservatives, has written to his wayward comrades, “When you argue stupid, you campaign stupid. When you campaign stupid, you win stupid. And when you win stupid, you govern stupid.” (Unsurprisingly, Frum was recently eased out of his position at the American Enterprise Institute after expressing criticism of Republican tactics in the health care debate.)

Over the next six months, as midterm elections approach, we’ll be hearing a lot from and about the Tea Party movement. Right-wing Republicans hope to lead the movement by following it. Establishment Republicans will make fools of themselves trying to master a populist rhetoric they don’t know and don’t believe in. Democrats will take cover, hoping that their losses won’t be too great and that they’ll pick up seats in places where Republicans are slitting each other’s throats. In the end we will likely find ourselves with a divided and irresponsible Congress even less capable of gaining public trust by governing well. Confidence in government will drop further and the libertarian commedia of American politics will extend its run.

But the blame does not fall on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or the Republican Party alone. We are experiencing just one more aftershock from the libertarian eruption that we all, whatever our partisan leanings, have willed into being. For half a century now Americans have been rebelling in the name of individual freedom. Some wanted a more tolerant society with greater private autonomy, and now we have it, which is a good thing—though it also brought us more out-of-wedlock births, a soft pornographic popular culture, and a drug trade that serves casual users while destroying poor American neighborhoods and destabilizing foreign nations. Others wanted to be free from taxes and regulations so they could get rich fast, and they have—and it’s left the more vulnerable among us in financial ruin, holding precarious jobs, and scrambling to find health care for their children. We wanted our two revolutions. Well, we have had them.

Now an angry group of Americans wants to be freer still—free from government agencies that protect their health, wealth, and well-being; free from problems and policies too difficult to understand; free from parties and coalitions; free from experts who think they know better than they do; free from politicians who don’t talk or look like they do (and Barack Obama certainly doesn’t). They want to say what they have to say without fear of contradiction, and then hear someone on television tell them they’re right. They don’t want the rule of the people, though that’s what they say. They want to be people without rules—and, who knows, they may succeed. This is America, where wishes come true. And where no one remembers the adage “Beware what you wish for.”
AIN'T that the truth?