Posts Tagged Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck warns of the coming Muslim Anti-Christ.

Whew, boy. Just when you think he can’t get any wackier, Glenn Beck surprises us again. Recently he has been courting an ‘expert’ on Islam, Joel Richardson. He has even gone so far as to buy into Richardson’s idea that the pending anti-Christ will be a One World Muslim leader, head of the upcoming Caliphate that will be headquartered in Turkey, brought about by the Muslim Brotherhood, who were pulling all the levers behind the peaceful revolution in Egypt.

Now, Beck is not saying that this fellow, the much anticipated 12th Imam is the anti-Christ. But he could be.  He doesn’t know for sure – he can’t see the future. Well, not all the time. But as his blackboard will show, all the signs are there.  So, grab your Bibles (or your Books of Mormon) and your shotgun ’cause things will be heating up soon. And don’t forget to buy your “Survival Seed Bank” and put what money you have left in the safe and secure hands of the good people at Gold Line.  Just in case you make it through the coming global collapse. (You can definitely trust Glenn’s sponsors. He wouldn’t take their money if he didn’t believe in them.)

Gosh. I wonder if Glenn could call upon the archangel Moroni to come to our defense. Perhaps it is not too late.  Thank All…uh, um….God, that at least deep and spiritual thinkers like Glenn and Joel Richardson are here to sound the alarm.


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Alack, those intolerants!

Over on Facebook I’ve been engaged in another round of a continuing argument that a friend and I have been having over the years. He charges that my criticisms of those I call intolerant are hypocritical, because, in essence, this is just another form of intolerance.  To be intolerant of intolerance, he says,  is a type of circular reasoning.

He’s not the first one to say this about me, or anyone of a number of people outspoken against intolerance.  On the face of it,  this argument sounds logical but to me it seems  so obviously incorrect.  This accusation must be the one based on circular reasoning.  To be intolerant of intolerance just seems to make sense, like having nothing to fear but fear itself.  But I have never really been able to come up with a solid rebuttal.

Until now. It really boils down to a simple matter of semantics.  We are not talking about the same thing here.  According to no less an authority than Merriam Webster, “tolerance” has multiple, subtle yet significant, meanings.

Definition of INTOLERANT

1 :
unable or unwilling to endure
a : unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters
b : unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights : bigoted

This clears things up.  I am doing my best to be the first definition as it encounters both elements of the second.

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Citing blood libel isn’t the issue with Palin, it’s her contradictions

The real problem with Sarah Palin’s video is not her use of the phrase “blood libel”. True, it may have been insensitive to many Jews, but it is quite possible that she never considered that angle.  Some suggest that she is  in unaware of the phrase’s anti-Semitic overtones  and  she is only repeating what has been said before  by other politicians, on both the Left and the Right, in other circumstances.  Maybe. But being a self-professed Evangelical, Palin is likely very aware of the Biblical roots of the phrase.

In the 27th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, the angry crowd calls for the crucifixion of Jesus:

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

As Christianity became more Roman and less Jewish, this phrase was used to justify the persecution of those Jews who would not convert to the Jesus faith.  Christians throughout history, and many to this day, believe that the Jews have been cursed by God for the killing of Jesus (conveniently forgetting that Jesus was Jewish and his executioners were Roman).  Palin obviously sees this as an unjust charge, just as unjust as  the liberal charge that Tea Party rhetoric is responsible for the murders in Tuscon.  So in that respect the phrase is appropriate and correct, if perhaps politically unwise, especially when you remember that Representative Giffords’ is Jewish.  (Probably not many in the mainstream media are conversant with scriptures and were not immediately aware of the phrase’s origins.)

The big problem I found (aside from the bad timing of this video’s release and its narcissistic thrust) is that its main premise is contradictory. Palin defends Tea Party rhetoric, saying that people are responsible for their own actions. Words are just words and those that use them cannot be blamed for the violent behavior of others. But then she accuses her liberal critics of exactly that, by inciting “hatred and violence” with their criticisms of the Right:

“…within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own, they begin and end with the criminals who commit them.

There are those who claim that political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow got more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those calm days when political figures literally settled their difference with duelling pistols?”

Just because American demagogues  have historically resorted to hyperbole and attacks upon the character of their opponents,  to the point that they ended up in fisticuffs, riots and duels, does not mean that we should continue the tradition into the 21st century. Palin, Beck and the Tea Partiers need to remember something important:  that was then and this is now. Historical wrongs, no matter how many of them, do not justify present ones.

But anyway, what’s the verdict here, Sarah? Do words have the power to incite violence and hatred? And if so, then what kinds of words would do that best?

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George Washington’s advice to the Tea Party: Tone down the rhetoric

A little over 214 years ago, President George Washington announced to the American people that he would not seek a third term, one he was sure to win.  He did so by publishing a letter in independent newspapers under the title of “The Address of General Washington To The People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States”.  The primary intent of this letter was to give the young nation advice on how to conduct its affairs now that it would no longer be under the firm, guiding hand of Washington.  In it, he put forth some very clear notions on how political adversaries  should conduct themselves. It is ironic that,  for a people who claim a sacred succession of principles from our Founding Fathers, his advice is not being heeded.  What follows are those passages that address this issue (emphasis mine).

“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

President George Washington,September 19, 1796,

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You say you want a revolution? You can count me out.

No, you can’t blame the recent tragedy in Tuscon on Sarah Palin.  Or Glenn Beck.   Politicians who use heated rhetoric during their campaigns are not responsible for the actions of one sadly deranged young man.  Roger Ailes over at Fox News did not pull the trigger nor did he put the gun in Jared Loughner’s hand.

It is absolutely  true, that since our country’s beginnings, and not long after the Revolution was over, politicians have been smearing each other.  George Washington refused to have anything to do with his former friend, Thomas Jefferson, after Jefferson engaged in a campaign questioning the President’s intentions and his mental faculties.

What is different about today’s political speech is that there has never been such an abundance of language that invokes violent revolution, at least not since the Civil War.  In fact,  a lot of the talk coming out of the Tea Party not only expresses the ideals and actions of the early American rebels, it is often openly sympathetic with the Southern secessionists of the 1860s.

I think the comparisons are valid.  Long before civil war broke out, all the way back before the Constitutional convention in 1787 ( yet after the Revolution was over)  the language of rebellion was not uncommon in the halls of Congress.  Well before the shelling of Fort Sumter crazed ideologues, of which John Brown was the most notorious, took violent action against the government.  Brown was not a secessionist, though, he was an abolitionist.  The cause of abolition was undoubtedly noble, yet it did not sanction  Brown to take violent action against the U.S. government.

The Tea Party and friends are certainly entitled to criticize their opponents in the government as passionately as they would like.  They should even be encouraged to do so.  A lively and spirited public debate is essential to democracy.  And, of course,  all Americans need to understand that polemical language should not be taken too literally,  But, when such a large, concerted body of people hailing from the mainstream of America consistently use the language of revolution, consistently (and incorrectly) compare themselves to the colonial revolutionaries who founded our country, and consistently label their adversaries in the sitting government as traitors and murderous despots, then it only stands to reason that some of their less inhibited followers may decide to take matters into their own hands.

No matter how much we may be dissatisfied with the direction our country is headed, we are not under the thumb of a distant monarch.  WE have elected our government, our elected representatives are taxing us. No dictator is denying us our freedoms.  No one in the United States government is remotely analogous to Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin.  Our President is not an illegal alien Muslim infiltrator who’s plan is to create an American version of the Hitler Youth,  in order to confiscate our guns and seize control of our government.  There are no concentration camps being secretly built by FEMA, there is no secret Bilderbeger conspiracy for one world government  that extends back to Woodrow Wilson.  And so on and so on.

Remember the Boston Massacre of 1770?  Well, British soldiers were not to blame for that event (only 5 Americans were killed, by the way, out of a mob of at least 300).  It was the large, angry mob made up of normally peaceful citizens,  who advanced upon the few frightened soldiers that essentially pulled the triggers on their British muskets.  Today we blame the British for this “massacre” when the true culprits, no matter how noble their cause, were those myopic “patriots”, most not even on the scene,  who riled up the people with their incendiary rhetoric.   Patriots who would later  cry  “Give me liberty or give me death”.  Strong language for their time. Totally inappropriate for ours.

This kind of revolutionary  language today is sadly paranoid and needs to be self-regulated by the Right, before another sad, paranoid American decides that he or she is a 21st century  Minuteman.

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know you can count me out

-the Beatles

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What if Eldridge Cleaver had put rifle cross-hairs on a political map like Sarah Palin did?

A very smart fellow who goes by the web-name of PhilosoPoet (and does not write as much as he should) said something in response to a comment made on this blog that is, I think, down right profound.

The comment in question was made in reference to my previous post on the Arizona shooting. The commenter thought it was a bit of stretch to connect the actions of this violently deranged young man and the violent, revolutionary, political rhetoric spewing from the Tea Partiers and others on the extreme right. I just wish I’d thought of this.

Perhaps you might want to try a bit more coherence to your comment…

I for one would love to hear if you even have the ability to see that it is possible that there is a connection between Sarah Palin’s Bulls Eye Target Map, and this young mans despicable actions…as well as the other threats this congresswoman received on numerous occasions…

Fighting to preserve freedom is as American as apple pie, and right almost always, when it is done to safeguard the rights of all Americans.

Sarah, Glen, and Newt (how can you trust or take a guy named after a slimy lizard seriously) these guys are not fighting to protect all Americans – instead they seek to preserve a largely White Christian America, their strategies will wreck havoc in America…by increasing friction between the so called left and right.

Make no mistake there are morons on both sides of the political spectrum…best to let these sleeping dogs lay.

Try this flip test. If it were again 1968, and the Black Panthers had just published a Bulls Eye Target Map of politicians they did not like and talked about reloading, would you view this as a dangerous act of aggression on their part?

Of course you would…

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Read the tea leaves and weep: Arizona shooter is the inevitable by-product of current right-wing rhetoric

Like it or not, the gunman who killed six people in Tuscon yesterday, wounding 14 more (including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, his prime target),  was influenced greatly by the melodramatic and violent rhetoric of the Tea Party and their extreme right wing fellow travelers.  There is even word that he has links to a white supremacist anti-immigration militia group.

Reading the messages on his YouTube page, one can tell that Jared Loughner is a very disturbed, yet probably intelligent, young man, which is what people close to him have been telling the press. In one very long video, he (or someone else) is dressed in a homemade costume, and accompanied by loud music in which the refrain seems to be “bodies will hit the floor, eventually burns an American flag to the desert ground.

But the most telling of Loughfner’s uploads is his “Introduction” in which he loosely, and rather incoherently, lists a series of paranoid grievances, most of which you can hear any day  on Fox News, particularly from Glenn Beck. He signs off with:

In conclusion, reading the second United States Constitution,  I can’t trust the current government because of the ramifications.  The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.

No! I won’t pay debt by a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver!

No! I won’t trust in God!

What’s government if words don’t have meaning?

Emphasis on the Constitution, anti-federalist views, and the security of gold (and maybe silver) are major components of Glenn Beck’s daily school lesson. Take all this, throw in some revolutionary rhetoric (why do you think they call themselves militias?) and top it off  with the gun sight targets that Sarah Palin’s website placed over ‘progressive’ Gifford’s congressional district (not too mention Palin’s impassioned call to not retreat but “reload”) and you have a recipe that any paranoid schizophrenic would love. And then have him easily and legally purchase a high capacity semi-automatic handgun and who would expect anything other than murder?

It’s time to stop with all this Revolutionary War language. The only similarity between then and now is the growing tendency towards violence.

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