Category Archives: Glenn Beck

Hate Crimes and Wingnuts

Have I got your attention?

My web surfing today has revealed a singular theme.  You guessed it:  hate crimes.  How powerfully this meme travels one way on the two-way street of political discourse.  When bullies gang up on some poor feller because he is Muslim, that is a hate crime.  When some loser gang types brutally assault and torture some folks because they are suspected of homosexuality, that is a hate crime.  Hate crimes against Catholics or Protestants are not quite so newsworthy, though.  The hate crimes of one victim group against another (Muslim against homosexuals, for example) don’t even exist, do they?

Discussion point:  wouldn’t most crimes be hate-motivated in some fashion or another?

Goodness knows Byron Williams is a hater-type criminal, the existence of which the left will use inexhaustibly for political purposes.

Goodness knows that Byron Williams was created by Glenn Beck’s violent rhetoric and hateful speech, and he should totally be taken off the air by the Hate Crime Police.  (Just check my last link if you think I exaggerate.) 

I want to write so eloquently and so powerfully about this issue.  Alas, I am tired and ready to bid this day “good night.”

If you feel that the right is full of “hate speech,” just bear these links in mind:

Look At This F*cking Tea Partier, and

Look At This F*cking Teab*gger.  (Do you reckon they know each other?  Or did they just have the same brilliant idea to demean people about whom they know nothing?)

What are we to take from these websites and quotes like this:

“Just look at this hateful little man. Every time he looks in the mirror a racist bigot stares back at him but he’s too blinded by his rage to recognize it. Unfortunately for him and Tea Baggers like him we don’t have the same problem, recognizing hate.”

Calling some guy you don’t know “hateful” because he has different opinion than yours about the President isn’t hateful, in and of itself, you know.  The left is never hateful.  Not even when it blows up children.

However, Pamela Geller’s concern about the Cordoba Initiative is definitely hate speech:

“The speaking event . . . brought over fifty students and local activists, many of them from the Delaware Valley Veterans for America, International Socialist Organization, International Action Center and Socialist Action to denounce Geller and Spencers’ documented hatemongering against Muslims.”

Okey-dokey then.  (If you want to make up you own mind, please listen to their speeches for yourself and decide how hateful Geller and Spencer are.)

How about this example.  Is it hate speech?  “You’ll rot in hell and you’ll be made to drink blood and puss. That’s what happens when you provoke someone’s religion.
Rot in hell you bastard.”

How about “Kill Geert Wilders?”  Hate speech?  I guess not.  It is just righteous indignation at Mr. Wilders’ hate speech, you see.

Does your brain hurt yet?

If not, then click here, and see how the left can make a hero out of a nasty murderer like Che.

If still not, then click here, and see how even a knitting blogger hates the horrible hating “teab*ggers”:

“the hatred of these miserable simpletons who call themselves Teab*ggers makes me pukified.

I suspect that many KnitDweebs are Teab*ggers. Simpletons whose brains are trapped in a vicious cycle of ignorance.

Feel free to add your own Teab*gger knitting project to the comments. Let’s have some f*ckin’ fun with this!

Thank God there are no Teab*gger or Teaparty groups on Ravelry. At least, none that I could find. Presumably, Teab*gger knitters aren’t very techo-savvy.”

Whiskey tango foxtrot?  I am a “miserable simpleton” who is trapped in a “vicious cycle of ignorance.”  No particular facts were offered to support this general claim.

I am a tea-party-type conservative.  Can you find anything in my very own posts to support this claim? 

Go ahead, support it.  Use specific facts to demonstrate how dumb and hateful I am, and how smart and loving you are.

The Restoring Honor Rally: Why?

By linking to The Mahablog in my previous post, I started a discussion with the Maha and her commenters.  The basic gist of this conversation began like this:

Maja:  Teabaggers don’t actually have a cause, just a lot of resentments; and their slogans and symbols are displays of tribal dominance only.  Most teabaggers have no idea what the slogans and symbols mean.

Me:  That is a mischaracterization of tea party types and/or Restoring Honor Rally attendees.

Maja:  No it isn’t.

Me:  Yes it is.

Illuminating discussion, is it not?  Ha ha.  If you want more specifics, follow the links. 

After a couple of days, I reckon curiosity has killed this cat, for I went back to the Mahablog to see what else was said on that string.  Oh sure, I found more insults (are you really calling me chicken because I didn’t watch that video?), but I also found appreciation for my civility, and some sincere enough questions.

Questions worth trying to answer.

First, the easy ones:  “Why is anger a hobby now?”

Sorry for the confusion here.  By hobby, I was referring to my blogging.  I mean, really.  What with my association with libertarianism, the tea party movement (“TPM”), and/or anything Glenn Beck, you should know that anger is not my hobby, but a full-time job!  Ha.

“Where are your links to these ‘specifics’?  Why don’t you care about facts?”

I am far, far too angry to bother with links, or care about facts.

“For the millionth time, where were you when G.W. Bush and his administration were wrecking the country?”

Me, personally?  Part of the time, I was serving in the U.S. Navy and unable to criticize my boss.  (It’s like, a rule or something.)  As for the rest of the time, I admit it:  I was neglecting my civic duties.  Ignoring politics.  Like so many people on either side, or no side, of the political spectrum, I threw my hands up in disgust and turned my back on the whole sorry mess.  I also foolishly trusted that, as long as I voted for the party which had principles nearer to mine, that would be good enough.

My bad.

But my prior negligence does not invalidate my newfound diligence. 

It seems like some lefties wish there were some sort of statute of limitations:  “Sorry, but you weren’t politically active for five straight years of adulthood.  Your activism authorization has expired.”

Okay, on to the more difficult questions:

“What I don’t know, is why the rally occurred. Why were you there?”

Me personally? 

Reason #1:  To prove to D.C. and the nation that I, the reasonable conservative, actually exist.  That we exist, and in large numbers.  Numbers larger than you previously realized.  Numbers larger than we realized, prior to 12 September 2009’s Taxpayer March.  Beck was right, we surround them.  We just didn’t realize it at first.  We were alone, and silent.  But no longer.  Which leads to . . .

Reason #2:  to stop being silent.  How many years have I held my tongue?  Starting in high school, the lessons came that if you expressed a conservative view, you would be in for an attack.  How often have I heard that conservatives are mean, stingy, don’t care about poor people, old people, black people, purple people eaters?

Now, these are just my personal reasons for attending.  Beck had his own reasons for holding the Rally, in part to introduce his Black Robe Regiment and his 40 days and 40 nights challenge.

“What is it that made all those people get on buses and planes and come out to this event?”

A single word:  fellowship.  (I’ve thrown a lot of links on this post, but this one you should definitely follow.) 

Some came primarily for fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. 

But.

This is very important:  some, like me, came for the fellowship with conservatives, regardless of religious beliefs.  I’m talking about a big conservative tent, my peoples.  Before the Obama/Reid/Pelosi trifecta, we conservatives were too easily divided into separate camps:  the drug-legalizers, the religious right, the fiscal conservatives, etc.

No more.  We are uniting now, in a common purpose:  stopping the inexorable shift towards statism.  Scott Brown, Chris Christie, and Joe Miller are only the beginning.  I can see November from my house.

“What were you supporting?”

True color blindness, instead of identity politicsThe free marketThe idea that our rights come from God, not the government.  Limitations on our ever-hungry federal governmentThe revival of constitutional understandingThe sanctity of life.

Plenty of facts and details in the links I’ve provided.  Whether you actually absorb them is up to you, dear reader.

Finally, to get to that video that the Maja said I didn’t have the courage to address (calling me chicken worked, I watched the blumin’ thing). 

I gotta help the older boy with his homework.  Get some laundry done.  Get them outside to play.  And fed.  Oh yeah, there’s a bleepin’ hurricane on the way, too.  Yikes!

So I must be quick.

Where you see dummies spouting pointless platitudes, I see my friends and neighbors, doing their best on the spot.  I see regular, everyday folks, talking about the deficit, about fellowship, about getting away from political rulers and back towards representative government.  I see a man who knows Glenn Beck was going to introduce something new and was very interested to find out (Black Robe Regiment, etc).  I also noticed that many clips were cut short, in mid-sentence even.

Suffice it to say that we are seeing things with different eyes and hearing things with different ears.

The only questions are:  who is truly listening?  Who is truly blind?

Restoring Honor Rally: When Libertarianism and Religion Collide

It has been an interesting year.  It started with the 9/12 March on Washington in 2009, and finished with the 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally of 2010.  Those two events are bookends to the blurry whirlwind that was one year of my life:  parenting, traveling, listening, reading, blogging.

The 9/12 event was not the beginning of my interest in politics.  Shoot, I’ve been conservative/libertarian since age nineteen (based on that old adage, I must have no heart).

But 9/12 was just . . . overwhelming.  A turning point.  On that morning, my family and I walked out of our hotel and towards Pennsylvania Avenue with no idea what we would encounter.  We did not expect to get swept into an ocean of families like ours, so wide and so thick I could not move nor see past it.  I did not expect that sea to wash over Pennsylvania Avenue for hours.

9/12 was the kind of rare thing that fills your soul.  To the brim.  One day, you are alone in your dismay at the political landscape and the state of your government generally.  The next day, you are not.  Not alone.  Not dismayed.  Worried?  Maybe.  But motivated to do something.

I could see my own surprise, gratitude, and hope mirrored in the expressions of everyone around me that day.

Fast forward now to the 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally.  This experience was certainly similar to 9/12, with one big difference.  This time, I am not surprised in the least.  Not surprised by the size of the crowd, or by the vastly different attendance numbers reported.  Not surprised by the way some media outlets equated the rally with the counter-rally, by lumping their numbers together.  Not surprised by the mischaracterizations, the twisting of facts (these links are via Legal Insurrection).  In fairness, one lefty blogger charitably offered that most of us are “probably not bad people,” although we still must be battled in order to “save civil society.”  Oh my, that sure sounds serious.  And sorta fear-mongery.

Anyhoo, having listened to Glenn Beck somewhat regularly this past year, I was not surprised by the religious nature of 8/28.  I mean, he’s been getting increasingly preachier and preachier all year long.  If you are a regular listener, you have noticed.  

And if you are a born-again, baptized-in-the-water believer, you probably don’t mind.  Even if Glenn Beck is a Mormon, a fact which some folks think should cause other Christians to recoil in horror.  (Hello, isn’t that a bit divisive?  Especially from that all-inclusive, all-tolerating left side of the political spectrum.)

Other folks also seem a bit flummoxed by the religious nature of the 8/28 event.  In the New York Times, one commentator describes it this way:

“Instead [of a political event], Beck served up something considerably stranger. This was a tent revival crossed with a pep rally intertwined with a history lecture married to a U.S.O. telethon.”

Well, yeah.  Fair enough.  But to me, it didn’t feel strange.  The event felt as natural as attending my parent’s nondenominational church or mass at my kids’ Catholic school.    We came, we shared a little fellowship with those around us, we prayed at bit, sang a bit, coaxed the kids into enduring boredom a bit, and that’s all.  Just like church. 

But with a slightly larger crowd than the usual congregation.

I kinda wondered what the not-openly-religious type of libertarian would think of the Restoring Honor Rally.  The approach of two thinkers, Glenn Reynolds and Nick Gillespie, can be found in this concise nutshell of Insty info.  Read the whole thing, and watch the Reason.com video embedded therein.  They are fair enough assessments.  A little reserved perhaps.  (As long as it’s Tocquevillian, it’s okay in Professor Reynolds’ book.)

But for the record:  nothing whatsoever about the rally left me reserved or unsettled. 

I am grateful for Beck’s melding of libertarianism with religion.  Mostly, the right side of politics has always had separate camps:  the religious right and, well, the rest.  I have never felt entirely at home in either camp.   Which is why I branded myself a “Christian libertarian” a long time ago. 

Then along comes Glenn Beck, an ex-pop music radio DJ, recovering alcoholic, and Mormon, who seems to be building a bridge between those two camps. 

I like it.

Okay, a bit of housekeeping before I sign off.  One, Tim Cavanaugh’s take is well worth reading, but here is my favorite line:

“the real reason I and my fellow coastal elites are wary of Glenn Beck is a lot more basic: He’s the fat kid you don’t want to be seen with at the lunch table. I’ll admit it! I find Beck a little bit creepy and gross and needy, and he gives me this sense that things are not going to end well.”

Ha!  Once again I say:  fair enough.

Next, guess what?  The President still does not take us seriously.  Yawn, no surprise there.

Finally, as far as that whole “saving civil society” thing goes.  Just look at the difference between the D.C. Mall after the Restoring Honor Rally, as compared to post-Obama inauguration.  Then tell me once again who is the more civil group, the lefties or the righties?  Just sayin’.

P.S.  My favorite parts of the rally were:  1) Alveda King, and 2) Amazing Grace with bagpipes.

AFP Conspiracy Revealed! Behind the Scenes at Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally

I gotta get the boys to the hotel pool before they tear our room apart.

What can I say quickly?  It was crowded, as in like dozens and dozens.  Oh wait, that was just the counter protest:

Just a bit more than that at the Restoring Honor Rally, but I’ll leave it up to the major media outlets to play the “numbers attended” game:

Deep into the rally crowd I noticed some shady-looking characters in official Americans for Prosperity garb.  The trend was disturbing.  Maybe it’s not really a grassroots crowd at all.  Rather, a carefully orchestrated crowd.  Orchestrated by a “foreign-controlled corporation, or a big oil company, or a big bank.”  Organized by (gasp!) . . . Americans for Prosperity!

Take a look and judge for yourself:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, I’ve got a load of great pictures to share, but I really. have. to.  Get the boys in the pool. It was hot.  They were good.  They deserve it.

UPDATE:  Mr. Saddleburr has put together a good video of the rally crowd over at Disrupt the Narrative.

The Illusion of Choice

Reckon the whole Nudge thing is old news, but it really struck a chord today. 

I was listening to Glenn Beck during my jog.  Cass Sunstein was the topic.  Audio was recently discovered, in which Sunstein promoted the idea of internet site linking to opposing views, voluntarily or by mandate if necessary.  Pat or Stu (I can’t tell the difference between them, sorry) explained, tongue in cheek, that Mr. Sunstein doesn’t want to mandate any particular behavior.  He prefers “altering the choice structure.”

Altering the choice structure.  I’m well familiar with that technique.  As the mom to two young boys, I’m a pro.  Long ago I dubbed it “The Illusion of Choice” (draw out the letter “u” when you say it:  “the illoooooh-sion of choice”).  

Here’s how it works.  Want to leave the park or the birthday party in 15 minutes with minimum fuss?  Ask your child, “Are you ready to leave now, or do you want me to give you another 15 minutes of playtime?”  “Fifteen more minutes!” he will quickly respond.

Plan to serve a vegetable at dinner, about which your child usually moans?  Pair it with a vegetable he hates even more, and ask:  “Do you want the brussel sprouts, or the spinach?”  “Spinach!” he will quickly choose.

See?

It’s the illooooooh-sion of choice!  And it works a charm.  They don’t even realize what I’m doing.

Do you see my next point?  (Really, comment and let me know ‘cuz I’m curious.)

The Illusion of Choice is a tactic a parent uses on her child, to manipulate him into complying with the very thing he would normally resist.  Perfectly appropriate for a parent to use this slick little trick on her child. 

But is this the way adults should treat other adults?

‘Course not.  It is not based on mutual respect.  It does not acknowledge the inherent right of an adult to make his own choices, good or bad.

“Choice architecture” is simply a form of parenting.  Paternalism.  As a recent New York Times article on Sunstein puts it,

“behavioral economists have replaced the rational actor in economic models with an often befuddled character — bedeviled by impulses and sentiments, overwhelmed by choice.”

So, this befuddled man should be guided.  Nudged by those who know which choice is best.  Like me:  the mom who knows her son should leave the park soon, and eat some spinach.

This is a real problem, people.  Alarms should be going off in your head.  Robots, with arms flailing, should be repeating “Danger, Will Robinson!”  Because Cass Sunstein, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wants to treat you like his child.  And people out there agree with him.

That New York Times article quoted above is certainly enamoured:

“Many innovative ideas — among them, some of the corrections proposed by behavioral economics — are still hypotheses. Like Sunstein, their brilliance comes with speculation, and it comes with whimsy.”

This blog on Social Capital is favorable as well (whatever the devil “social capital” is):

“In Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler‘s wonderful book Nudge (2008), they note that individuals’ choices can be influenced by countless factors that people are unaware of . . . .”

Even this intelligent blog, which does criticize Sunstein and the New York Times article, still seems guilty of taking the guy too seriously. 

Libertarian paternalism.  An oxymoron if I ever heard one.

Meeting Cody Weber Part II

The following is my response to Cody’s friendly comment

It is good to meet you.  Publicly declaring my politics is a fretful experience.  To face a rather harsh YouTube video, refrain from lashing back, learn more about the person, and end up finding the common ground.  A positive thing in my book.

Glenn Beck sounds fake to you, okay.  But it doesn’t mean his listeners are being duped.  I listen to the radio show for two reasons:  the facts I get, and the humorous bantering between Pat, Stu and Glenn.  They work well together.  Sometimes he gets too Chicken Little, and sometimes he gets totally spun up about things I could care less about.  So I turn it off.

I usually don’t watch his TV show, as by 5pm I’m sick of politics and my family is home from work and school, dinner must be made, etc.  Funny, I made a point of watching 3 days in a row after watching your video.  In order to best answer, why do I listen to him?

Facts are the answer.  I do check them myself and have not found lies.  

Cody mentioned two Beck statements he felt were lies.  First, concern over whether the President swore on the Bible or the Koran.  I was not stateside back when this issue arose.  I can’t find anything dispositive at this point.  The recording at issue has been removed by YouTube.  In my experience, anti-GB folks do tend to be rather reflexive and take statements out of context. 

The other claim was about John Holdren advocating birth control in drinking water.  It is true, albeit from the 70’s, so whether Holdren still holds that view is debatable.  I remember listening to Beck talk about this.  His point was, why doesn’t Mr. Holdren distance himself from this creepy opinion in that old book?

I really don’t mean to turn this into a snopes.com “Beck said this,” “no he didn’t” back-and-forth argument.  But since facts are the reason I listen, I figured I should address the concerns you voiced about untruths. 

I totally get being completely turned off by personality.  I am that way about Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.  Ick.  But you can’t discount all the facts Beck provides every day, unless you steel yourself against your dislike, and listen or watch on a regular basis yourself.  After all, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on facts provided by Rachel Maddow or Chris Matthews off the cuff.  I would watch for a week and take notes, do some research, and then comment on their offered facts.

You and I probably have a lot of common ground.  But make no mistake:  we also disagree on important points.  I do not think the separation is only in our heads.

The Constitution is not just an excuse for our current political battles.  It is the underlying thing at issue most every time.  Deadlock is usually a good thing.  And there are plenty of things that rightly we ought to fear.  We have entered a time when the many basic Constitutional provisions are being abrogated.  We have reached the point where we must ask the basic question:  is our government to be limited, or is it not?

Meeting Cody Weber

I am subscribed to Lee Doren’s Facebook page, and a few days ago, I happened to see his response to a YouTube video about Glenn Beck.  That is how I came upon Cody Weber’s video.

Not surprisingly, my first reaction was annoyance.  After all, it was two minutes of insults about Glenn Beck and his listeners.  Then, I followed the link to Cody Weber is Things, and . . . well, things got more complicated.  

On Weber’s website, I was not insulted.  I was introduced to a dedicated father and aspiring artist with gorgeous photography in his portfolio.  I found a video journal that gives an intimate peek into Cody Weber’s home life. 

The sounds of Mario Party DS, the cereal bowl with a built-in sippy straw, the cartoon characters, and the bathtub routine:  all so familiar.  They transcend politics to create a bond between me and this Cody Weber character, whether I want it to or not.

Cody responded to Lee’s initial response, and I watched that one too.  There are so many things I want to discuss.  But, I can only focus on one this evening:  the Constitution, and why it is not outdated. 

In the second video, Cody explained that “the Constitution was written while slavery was still very much part of our culture, and we evolved from that.”  In other words, the Constitution’s relevance must be questioned, because those supposed “founders of liberty” were content to leave so many without an iota of freedom. 

The slavery issue is valid, and I have wrestled with it myself.  I finally started reading some American history.  It really helped.

The thing is, the Founding Fathers were great men, but . . . they were only men.  Imperfect

The Founding Fathers were saddled with their own perspective, their own limited lifespan.  They were concerned with their own rights as Englishmen, not with the rights of the whole human race.  For good reason, they were focused on the way the British–their own country and brethren, no less!–were trampling on the liberty of American colonists.

But.

In freeing themselves from British tyranny, the Founding Fathers managed to build a lasting framework, i.e., the Constitution.  The United States of America, as a people, then managed to use the Constitution and apply liberty, not just to those original Englishmen, but to every single citizen regardless of race, creed, or sex.  The people did so, not by ignoring the Constitution, but by lawfully amending it.

We cannot dismiss the Constitution on the grounds that slavery renders the document meaningless.  Or shall we also dismiss every wise word from the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabians and the Egyptians?

Cody continued, “you have the ‘Old America,’ the Americans that feel they must uphold the Constitution at all costs, and then there is the ‘Young America,’ this new America that is trying to change things.”

But this logic presumes that all new things are better than old.  We all know better than that, Cody included.  If the value of a concept decreases with age, how do you explain the continuing popularity of beer?

Since Cicero lived from 106 to 43 B.C., shall we discount his wisdom?  He said:

True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions . . .

A universal and unchanging rule of law.  That is the standard our Founding Fathers sought when they wrote the Constitution.  That is an important value of any true conservative.

Imagine if we did not have this unchanging rule of law.  Imagine that we had no Constitution.  Imagine the following “Nightmare Scenario:”

The year is 2014.  A Tea Party-fueled conservative backlash against Democrat-led changes in healthcare, the financial sector, and immigration has led to the election of Glenn Beck as the 45th President of the United States.  Enraged by American idiocy, several radical Islamic terrorist groups have attacked the U.S.  It is worse than the prior 9/11 attacks.

President Beck has already cajoled the new Republican majority in Congress to pass laws suspending the 5th Amendment, profiling all persons of middle eastern descent, and also targeting any persons who espouse hateful, un-American liberal rhetoric.  A new bill, the Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act, will prescribe how to manage these traitorous people. 

In order to constitutionally uphold the previous administration’s healthcare, finance, and immigration laws, the U.S. Supreme Court already held that the Constitution is a living document.  They explained that the Constitution must be interpreted in the context of modern times, because we have evolved so much in the last 220 years.  A lower federal court has already used the context of repeated terrorist attacks as grounds for upholding suspension of the 5th Amendment.  Good luck getting President Beck’s other new laws declared unconstitutional. 

See?  We all need to love and preserve the Constitution.  Left and right, up or down.  If one administration ignores an eensy little part of this rule of law, then the next administration may ignore or contravene some other part.  Maybe a part that’s pretty important to you.  Without consistency, the rule of law is meaningless.

It’s getting late.  I gotta wrap up.  Greed was a recurring theme for Cody Weber, so let’s end with the wisdom of Milton Friedman.  Here is a video clip from the Phil Donahue show in 1979:

Bibliography:  I relied on material in The Five Thousand Year Leap and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers in this post.

UPDATE, 30 April:  Found a solid article relevant to this post, Defending Glenn Beck.

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