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Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Beck’

Or should I have entitled this, “The Insane Right Has Guns”?

The recent events in Tucson, Arizona will be argued – they are already being argued – by both sides of the gun issue. Nevertheless, all must agree that this event should not have happened. Was it the fault of Sarah Palin just because she labeled Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s district with a gunsight? Let’s not be silly, right Sarah? After all, just because Gabrielle complained about the gunsight  imagery and that it would have consequences does that really mean that anyone would have somehow been inspired by that? Does it? Surely no crazy person would have been influenced by that, right Sarah? Sleep well, Sarah. It was just a horrible coincidence – wasn’t it?

It would be easy to talk about the current political climate and how ever since the Tea Party spun itself up that politics have become ugly. There is a lot of nastiness in general, untrue accusations about the birth of our President, untrue accusations about health care and “Death Panels”, and untrue accusations about the disastrous state of the economy being due to President Obama instead of the insane economics of George Bush. It goes on and on. Gross lies and misrepresentations from the extreme right. Its proper name is propaganda. The question we must ask now is this: have they finally gone too far?

However, before we go there, we need to take a look at one of America’s sacred rights (it seems to have the same quality as a religious belief), the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment to the Constitution (apparently the writers of the Constitution had forgotten about this, so they had to put it in as an amendment). The entire extent of the Second Amendment reads simply, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That’s it. A couple of years ago the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrated its knowledge of the English language by ruling that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with being in a Militia. This is the same Supreme Court that recently ruled that corporations have the same free speech rights as living people. Our Supreme Court is undoubtedly inspired by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, where he says, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – nothing more nor less”.

Speaking of the Constitution, would it be possible to talk about it rationally for a moment? Let’s face it. It is a document written by people who lived in the U.S. over 200 years ago and it was written to address their needs. They were intelligent people, these writers of the Constitution, and they knew that times change and needs change. So, they put in the ability to amend the Constitution by their successors. The people who wrote the Constitution did not believe they were writing as religious document that could not be questioned, modified, or improved. That is the whole reason they built in the capability to write amendments. They were sensible people. Unlike a lot of people we hear on far-right-wing television and radio today. You know who I mean.

We seem to have reached a point where we are unable to conduct intelligent discourse amongst ourselves. Everything is presented as a life or death decision. I guess that’s how you sell “news”. The problem is that this is poisonous news and it is poisoning our country. A case in point is the recent mass murder that took place in Tucson. The killer, by all accounts, is nuts. His classmates in school were afraid of him. One of them even said they thought he might bring a gun to class. He was, by all accounts, nearly incoherent. He couldn’t say a complete, meaningful sentence. Oh, and another thing – he had a gun. And he used it. Now, any sensible person would say that crazy people should not have guns – but not the gun lobby and the far extreme right. For these people guns are a sacred right enshrined in a sacred document – the Constitution.

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to talk of other things”. Indeed. We Americans need to begin a sensible discussion about this subject, the subject of guns. I don’t want insane people to have guns. I also don’t want insane people to be brain surgeons or airline pilots. The airlines have figured out how to keep the insanity out of the cockpit. Same for the hospitals – there’s no insanity in the operating room. So why can’t we keep guns out of the hands of the criminally insane? And please, don’t tell me because it is our God-given right for all Americans to bear arms. The more we, as a people, persist in deluding ourselves about issues that only require common sense solutions, the more we will find that we are building an insane culture that can’t even make sense of the English language (sort of like the Supreme Court). It’s time for the ranting fanatics like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the rest of the Fox mob to just back off – they are stirring up the crazies – and I suspect they know it. It is time for a little civilization in America.

As Lewis Carroll said, “If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison’ it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later”.

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The loosely aligned group of people who refer to themselves as the “Tea Party”  began to appear in 2008 as a response to the efforts of the newly elected Obama administration to cope with the collapse of the American banking system and the country’s screaming nosedive toward The Great Depression Part II. The movement gained more supporters as the new Democratic government pushed health care reform through Congress. Several people claim to be the originators of the movement and there are various splinter Tea Party organizations who all subscribe to one general line of thought: they are rabidly against the present Democratic government that was elected by the majority of the American people. This has made them natural allies of the Republican Party that is also adamantly against everything the present government is for. I imagine that if President Obama declared that, “Today is Sunday”, they would disagree. So, OK. I get it. They are uniformly against the Obama administration and the Democratic Party because they want their power back. I can understand that. It’s called hardball politics. It is nothing more than a struggle for power – winner takes all. Right?

But what about the poor, innocent, true believers of the Tea Party? Are they motivated by the same self-serving cynical ideas of the mainstream Republicans? Hardly. As I said, they are true believers in an ideal; in fact their belief in these ideals is comparable to a religious belief.  I say that because they brook no counter arguments, they are not open to discussion or debate, they will not accommodate or listen to a reasonable challenge to their statements. They just know that they are right, by God. And that’s it. Period.

And that, of course, is the problem.

Even so, reasonable people – and I think most Americans are reasonable – need to take a step back from the easily tossed slogans of the street marchers and the rants of Glenn Beck and his cohorts at the Fox Electric Propaganda Machine and carefully consider the important fundamental issue that no one ever talks about.  To do this we need to go back in time a bit – about 60,000 years. Why 60,000? Because scientific DNA evidence indicates that we (every person on this planet) is descended from a couple of individuals who lived 60,000 years ago.

During those last 60,000 years every group of humans, no matter where they lived, found that one thing was necessary for survival – you had to belong to a tribe. If you went off on your own you would die. There was no place for rugged individualism in those days; and not only those days. Tribalism, in one form or another, is necessary even today in modern society. Indeed, what is a united country if not just a very large tribe?  The key to having a successful tribe is a division of labor and an understanding that the members of a tribe take care of each other. It’s “all for one and one for all”.  Or, as Benjamin Franklin said upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. That’s because we were leaving the tribe of Great Britain and forming our own tribe, The United States of America.

Throughout American history, whether it was the Mormon pioneers who went west, the sailors who manned the New England whaling ships, or the unionized workers who built the cars in Detroit, everyone knew that survival meant belonging to the “tribe”. You were loyal to the tribe and the tribe was loyal to you. In recent history other parts of the world have tried other versions of the tribal concept. Karl Marx was an advocate of a tribal society called Communism. The countries of Scandinavia and other parts of Europe have formed tribal societies based upon the ideas of Socialism. Today the U.S. military (a sort of tribe itself) is engaged in warfare with the tribes of Afghanistan.

My point is simple: humans need to be members of some sort of organized “tribe” to survive on this planet. You can not go it alone. This is also true of those “rugged individualists” who live in Alaska – a state that receives more federal aid per capita than any other state in the United States. It’s interesting to listen to the Tea Party types from Alaska who want less Federal government. Do they know what they are asking for? With the loss of Ted Stevens from the U.S. Senate I think they will soon find out what that is like.

But wait a minute. What about the Republicans? Surely they can’t be for less government – they are part of the government, aren’t they? Do they want to eliminate their own jobs? No, of course not – they just want the government to tax their businesses less and they want to stop any oversight of their businesses – things like those pesky consumer protection laws and laws that keep the environment free of pollution from the waste products of companies who don’t give a rat’s behind about your backyard anyway. The Republican Party is not about smaller or less powerful government – just look at Bush/Cheney and how they stepped all over the laws regarding privacy, equal justice, and torture. They were not against the power of government – they just wanted to use the power as they saw fit without any constraints. And they did. It was an out of control government. I guess you call that Republican freedom or liberty or some such misuse of the English language.

So, what is the error of the Republican/Tea Party Coalition? It is this: no society can thrive based upon a concept of “every man for himself”. Such a society isn’t even a society. It is chaotic. It is the Law of the Yukon, where “Only the strong shall thrive, that surely the weak shall perish, and only the fit survive.” It is not the way that humans have lived. It is selfishness in the extreme. It is blind ignorance. The poor Tea Party people who believe they can live without government are foolish. They wouldn’t last a week in the wilds of Alaska.

Yet, one must ask: how many true believers are there in this Republican/Tea Party coalition anyway? Probably very few. That’s because Republicanism is not about “no government”; it’s about government by the wealthy for the wealthy. Their problem is that there is not, and never will be, a majority of wealthy people to vote them in – so they need to hook up with “like-minded” people, such as the Tea Party types.  Many of the TP people are not wealthy but they foolishly believe they don’t need a government to help them.  They don’t want to pay taxes, and they most certainly don’t need a black Democratic President telling them they need government health care or any other government help, i.e. things like bailouts and so forth. These are the selfish “believers”, and these are the people who would blindly walk off a cliff believing they can walk on air. They are simply out of touch with reality and the history of the human race.  The Republicans are not the true believers, they are the exploiters of the true believers. While some may call them the Party of No, they are in fact the Party of Me. And it is here where we see their common ground with the Tea Party types, for they are simply another version of the Party of Me. And this is the fundamental error of both, because a society can never succeed based on the concept of “ME FIRST”. Societies and mankind only prosper when we think of ourselves as the Party of Us and a country of Us. The concept of “us” is tribal and tribal means two things: the individual has responsibility to the tribe and the tribe has responsibility to the individual. This has been mankind’s recipe for success for 60,000 years.

The fundamental error of the Republican/Tea Party Coalition is that they believe they can form a successful government and country based upon selfish individualism. History has proven them wrong time and time again, but they don’t care and they won’t learn, because all they really care about is “Me”.

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The leaders of the Republican Party are fond of pointing out that they are the Party of Lincoln.  Indeed, Abraham Lincoln did belong to the Republican Party, but the Grand Old Party is not what it used to be.  Once upon a time it was the champion of civil rights for enslaved Africans who were born and died on Southern plantations.  The Republican Party was a champion of the cause for human rights and equality for all.  On the other hand it was the Democratic Party that had aligned itself with the South, an alignment that persisted until President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thus ensuring that Southern blacks received the rights that Abraham Lincoln had envisioned.  The point I am making here is that the Republican Party, at one time, was the party of the people, the party of the downtrodden, the party that wanted to help people who had been abused by the wealthy.

How times have changed. Today’s Republican Party is the champion, not of the suffering people at the lower end of the economic spectrum, it is the Party of Capitalism – the Party of the Wealthy.  It is this new alignment with the wealthy class of Americans that spells doom for the Republican Party, but they are blind to its coming.  Instead, they have crafted a new philosophy of self-determination, rugged individualism, every man for himself, complete freedom from governmental oversight, and absolutely minimal taxation – particularly for the wealthy.

It is an appealing philosophy for some – particularly the wealthy, i.e. the people who are at the top of the food pyramid of Capitalism.  The business owners, the bankers, the insurance people – anyone who is in a position to make a lot of money from scamming the average American citizen loves Republican philosophy. It can be summed up like this: you should be free to make as much money as possible with the least interference from government and you shouldn’t have to give a dime to the government for anything other than maintaining a strong army, navy, and air force that will protect our capitalist enterprises.  Republicans of today, unlike those of Lincoln’s time, are adamantly opposed to helping the poor in any way at all.  For them, the law of America should be “Every man for himself”.

There is, however, a fatal flaw in the philosophy of Sarah Palin and John McCain. There is a mathematics that doesn’t work in the world view of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.  There is a lack of logic in the bluster of Rush Limbaugh, the rantings of Glenn Beck, and the befuddled musings of Lou Dobbs, the former Republican turned Independent basher of Hispanics.  The flaw in their thinking is their religious adherence to the purity of Capitalism. Why is this a flaw you might ask?  It is a flaw because, despite our nearly religious American fervor for the word itself, Capitalism is not perfect. Capitalism is not some sort of gigantic marketplace computer that always comes up with the right answer.  Capitalism, pure and simple, is more akin to the Law of the Yukon (I wonder if Sarah Palin could quote that?):

“This is the Law of the Yukon, that only the strong shall thrive;

That surely the Weak shall perish, and only the Fit survive.”

In pure Capitalism, as in the Yukon, there are a few really big winners.  There are also a whole lot of losers.  No doubt this works well for the wolves at the top of the food chain. But there is a problem for a political party that espouses extreme Capitalism, i.e. today’s Republican Party: it is inevitable that it will dwindle and diminish because eventually it will only be made up of the few who feed on the flesh of the overall population.  Uncontrolled, pure Capitalism leads to financial ruin for the majority of people.  It leads to the domination of the economy by a small number of mega-businesses, just as it leads to mega-banks that charge usurious interest rates because they can and they will not control themselves.  Ultimately, the Republican Party is doomed to become the Party of the Few.

This then is the error of today’s Republican Party. They are blind to the fact that they do not represent the vast majority of Americans.  They are blind to the fact that most Americans depend upon their government to help them make it through life, whether it is in education or health care or jobs or protection from criminals or so many other aspects of life.  It is the government that the American people turn to when in need. Yet, it is exactly this sort of government that today’s Republican Party wants to dismantle.

These people are blind.  They don’t see the inevitable lop-sided society that results from uncontrolled Capitalism, they only see the vast amounts of money that can be accumulated by the top dogs of Capitalism.  But everybody can’t win the game of Capitalism, just like everybody can’t win the game of Monopoly.  The result today is that the American people are leaving the Republican Party by the millions.

Yet the leaders of the Republican Party still don’t see their fundamental error: Pure Capitalism creates an economic pyramid, with the vast majority of people at the bottom where they will inevitably be unhappy.  These unhappy people, inevitably, will no longer identify with the Republican Party.  The Republican brand of Capitalism produces an unstable society and therefore it inevitably becomes an unstable political party.  It can never be the dominant party for very long in a democracy.  In the long run – maybe even in the fairly short run – it is doomed.

Even Glenn Beck should be able to understand that.

 

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It had to happen sometime.  A business can only pose as a news agency for so long until someone says the equivalent of, “Hey, the Emperor’s not wearing any clothes!”  Today the bees are buzzing around the hive at Fox pretending to be caught off guard by a slam from the White House that simply says that Fox News is not really a news organization at all.  The fake outrage at Fox, the fake consternation, the fake “Who me?” attitude certainly is no surprise – it is what people like Glenn Beck do best.  The real question we should be asking is this: How long will the true believers, the people who have swallowed Fox’s aberration that poses as factual news, take before they awaken from their trance and recognize they have been badly misled by a bunch of paid carnival barkers?

Once upon a time, as I recall, Fox was a legitimate news organization.  That was a long time ago, but as I recall they were pretty good. They were certainly providing good competition to CNN.  However, somewhere along the line they made a right turn and veered off the highway into the swampland of Glennbeckia.  In Glennbeckia nothing is quite as it seems.  There are monsters under the sofa and vampires lurking in your bedroom.  In Glennbeckia everything that used to be true is now false and everything that was false is true. It’s like some awful inebriated dream from which you want to awaken but you are afraid to because you might miss some news about an even more virulent threat to the planet.

The minions of Lord Murdoch are not complete lunatics though.  Though they are now misshapen wraiths of their former selves – having been exposed for too long to the evils of the massive, groaning, hissing organs of the bloated propaganda machine housed in the bowels of Fox News, they still retain a clever cunning.  They know that even their most moronic, soporific victims will quickly awaken to reality if all they spew onto the airwaves is the stench of fetid corruption.  Clever in their deviousness, they deliberately mix in real news with their diabolical distortions of reality. “Here, my little dearies, they cackle.  Drink this, you’ll like it!”

And so they do every day. Mixing a toxic witches brew of information and misinformation, straight talking extreme right-wing radicals along with the confused, moronic babbling that bubbles forth from the darkness of Glennbeckia.  Fox News, or should I call it Foxy News, formerly a proud name in the news business, is now but now a lowly, slinking inhabitant of the shadows, held in thrall in the halls of Lord Murdoch.  Today they have been scratched by the sword of the White House, today the pure bright light of logic and reason illuminates the horror that lies in the basement of Fox News.  Hidden from view, the gargantuan propaganda machine hisses and steams, while boiling liquids of greenish ooze slop from a giant stinking cauldron of mucosal detritus which is then distilled into Essence of Vile Reporting and Vapor of Vapid Opinions.

It isn’t too late Fox.  Go back.  Turn away from the darkness and look to the light!  Save your immortal soul from the certain damnation that awaits those who deliberately lead the Children of the Light astray! Even Glenn Beck can be saved!  No…no…wait a minute.  I’m not so sure of that. Let me check….  Yes. No, sorry Glenn, it’s the fire for you.  Can’t be helped, you know.  But the rest of you at Fox – you who have been so deceived and are now a part of an even greater deception.  Can’t you see?  You have been outed!  The whole world knows now! Your denials mean nothing, nothing!  Leave the cursed land of Glennbeckia, come back to your senses, regain your pride in presenting the truth!  Turn away from the darkness and follow the light!

All except you Glenn, you and your Lord Murdoch are beyond redemption.

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I suppose Sarah Palin gets a bit of satisfaction from the title of her new book, Going Rogue.  It’s sort of an “in-your-face” taunt back at Tina Fey’s classic Saturday Night Live impression during the last election campaign, as well as at some of her other critics who also accused her of going rogue at the time.   I recall it all ended rather badly for the McCain/Palin team as the American public chose Barack Obama for President.  So, isn’t it just a little bit puzzling that Sarah’s new book is now number 1 on Amazon’s best seller list?  If so many American’s rejected McCain/Palin why are so many buying her book?  Do they even care what she thinks?  Even more puzzling is why so many are buying another book that is the #2 best seller on Amazon. I’m talking about Glenn Beck’s book, Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government.

Palin and Beck.  Number 1 and number 2 on the Amazon best seller list.  This is the list of best selling BOOKS I’m talking about, not video games. These are supposedly serious books that are read by serious readers, and this simple fact is something that should give the average American pause.  First, let’s consider Sarah Palin.  Clearly not noted for her shining intellect – remember her interview with Katie Couric? Time and again she proved that she had only the slightest knowledge of foreign affairs.  She couldn’t name a single newspaper or magazine that she read. She had, and continues to have, enormous difficulty in speaking the English language, preferring to speak in short, clipped phrases, often leaving out the subject of her sentence, and not overly concerned with being grammatically correct.  One can only wonder how she managed to write a book that bears any semblance of coherent thought… (Hmmm…maybe it doesn’t).

And then there’s Glenn Beck.  he is more of a carnival barker and shill for the Republican Party than a news reporter interested in getting out the truth.  He has a distinct gift for outrageously twisting and distorting facts, and then serving up his grotesque visions as insights for those members of the American public who believe that Fox television actually broadcasts news. His book, though it barely has a three star rating on Amazon, is in second place in sales.  Really.  Palin and Beck, number 1 and number 2 in book sales in America.  Frankly, I had no idea that the fanatical, extreme, right wing of America actually reads books.  So this is what they read…

The question that comes to mind though is this: is it only the lunatic fringe that is reading these books? If so, just how big is the lunatic fringe anyway, and should it still be called the “fringe”.  Could it be that lunacy has now become mainstream in America?  Could it be that the entire country, at least the majority of those who read books, have gone over the edge?  Have we, as a country, gone rogue?  Wait, maybe there is another explanation that makes more sense.  Maybe Americans just don’t buy very many books anymore. Remember when to be a bestseller you had to sell a million copies?  Maybe that’s not true anymore.  Perhaps people aren’t buying too many books during this worldwide Great Recession.  Maybe the rules have changed and you only have to sell a thousand books to be number 1 on the best seller list these days.  Could that be it?

Or wait, maybe there really are a lot of Americans from the center and the left who are buying millions of the Palin and Beck books too – but they are doing it just for all the laughs and chuckles they get when they read them – sort of like reading a joke book.  Could that be it?

Or, could the sad truth be that America has finally gone rogue?  Have we all sort of mystically drunk the Kool-Aid of the extreme right?  Has there been some sort of weird subliminal message campaign inflicted upon the liberal left to make us all order Sarah’s book a month before it even comes out and shoot it to the top of the charts?  Could that be it?  A vast right wing conspiracy to indoctrinate Americans as they channel surf past Fox news?  Come to think of it, doesn’t Glenn Beck have sort of weird hypnotic looking eyes?  And Sarah Palin, the way she talks so incoherently, could it be she is really just planting subtle and subliminal messages in our brains – a message simply saying “Go rogue, America…go rogue…go rogue”?  Could that be it?

I wonder what Glenn Beck would say about my theory, and even more importantly, does Sarah Palin have the courage to deny it?

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