Saturday, June 05, 2010

Get The Waaaaaaahmbulance, Stat! Paul McCartney Disses W, And Republicans Have A Hissy

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Sure, Paul may still have to live down "Silly Love Songs." But little moments like these remind us of the puckish rebel of his youth:
McCartney ended the evening taking a baseless cheap shot at former President George W. Bush.

“After the last eight years, it’s great to have a President who knows what a library is,” McCartney quipped.
Republicans seem to have forgotten that The Beatles always had a way of poking fun at conservatives -- and they never were compelled to hold their tongues, either.

Which is why Mr. Tanning Bed, John Boehner, immediately put up a big whine:
“Like millions of other Americans, I have always had a good impression of Paul McCartney and thought of him as a classy guy, but I was surprised and disappointed by the lack of grace and respect he displayed at the White House,” Boehner told HUMAN EVENTS. “I hope he'll apologize to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House and President Obama.”
Not to mention that it also gave John Boehner a big fat opportunity to completely humiliate himself. Again.

You know, we keep hearing from conservatives that we liberals have no sense of humor. They mostly tell us this when they make jokes about rounding us up in concentration camps or directing terrorist attacks our way. But even the most prim-lipped liberal knows better than to be this dumb.

Gotta wonder what Boehner will do if McCartney declines to apologize. Maybe he and his fellow House Republicans can burn Beatles records on the South Lawn or something.

Now Glenn Beck Loves American Nazi Sympathizers: Promotes Book By Prominent Hitler Advocate Of The 1930s

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Well, Glenn Beck has long had a predilection for promoting the work of far-right extremists like Cleon Skousen, as well as promoting a variety of ideas and theories that originated with the extremist right.

But his latest endorsement is simply beyond the pale. Media Matters has the whole scoop:
On his radio show today, Glenn Beck heralded and promoted the work of Nazi sympathizer Elizabeth Dilling, who spoke at rallies hosted by the leading American Nazi group and praised Hitler. Today, Dilling is heralded by White Supremacists and White Aryans who revere her "fearless" work against Jewish people.

As Media Matters' Simon Maloy noted, Beck had kind words for Dilling's 1934 anti-communist book, The Red Network, saying: "This is a book -- and I'm a getting a ton of these -- from people who were doing what we're doing now. We now are documenting who all of these people are. Well, there were Americans in the first 50 years of this nation that took this seriously, and they documented it." Maloy noted that Dilling has a long history of rabid anti-Semitism, such as calling President Eisenhower "Ike the Kike" and labeling President Kennedy's New Frontier program the "Jew frontier."

Professor Glen Jeansonne and writer David Luhrssen note in the encyclopedia Women and War that Dilling wasn't only anti-Semitic, but a sympathizer and supporter of the Nazis and Hitler:
When World War II began in 1939, Dilling was part of the national network of anti-Semitics, anti-Communists, and Nazi sympathizers such as Father Charles Coughlin, Reverend Gerald L. K. Smith, Reverend Gerald Winrod, and William Dudley Pelley. Material generated by Nazi organizations in Germany to inspire race hated and exploit dissatisfaction in the United States found its way into Dilling's publications. She spoke at rallies hosted by the leading U.S. Nazi organization, the German-American Bund, and had traveled to Germany, pronouncing the country as flourishing under Hitler.
Elizabeth Dillling

Dilling called for appeasing Germany; she blamed the war on Jews and Communists and accused the Roosevelt administration of being controlled by Jewish Communists. ... After Pearl Harbor, Dilling resisted wartime rationing and denounced the Allies.
So Dilling "spoke at rallies hosted by the leading U.S. Nazi organization, the German-American Bund."

Who's the German-American Bund? Let Glenn Beck, Elizabeth Dilling fan, tell you:
BECK: The Bund gathered socially and ran Nazi camps. The camps were advertised as summer retreats where you could escape the city, celebrate German heritage, dance, drink, at places like Camp Nordlund in New Jersey and Camp Siegfried in Long Island. The camps hidden as pro-German/pro- American were attended by adults and families.

On the outside, they looked like any other camp. But the children were indoctrinated in the ideals of Nazism, breeding young Americans to become full-fledged Nazis. They marched, performed drills in Nazi uniforms. And they were taught about their racial superiority, their potential as Aryan youth.

As media scrutiny of the Bund increase, so did anti-Nazi protests, including other Americans who hated the Nazi image and Jewish-American veterans. Instead of quieting down, Bund leader Fritz Kuhn decided to hold the largest rally in their history, Madison Square Garden. These American Nazis showed their true colors, beating a Jewish protester who rushed the stage. Kuhn and other speeches were nothing more than anti-Semitic rants wrapped in the American flag protected by the First Amendment. [Glenn Beck, March 11]
British Professors Christopher Partridge and Ron Geaves wrote that Dilling was a "pro-Nazi anti-Semite" who disseminated Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. The ADL describes Protocols as "a classic in paranoid, racist literature. Taken by the gullible as the confidential minutes of a Jewish conclave convened in the last years of the nineteenth century, it has been heralded by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are plotting to take over the world."

Dilling's Nazi sympathies have made her a cult hero among Aryan groups and White Nationalists/Supremacists. For instance, the group Women for Aryan Unity features Dilling in a publication whose purpose is "to honour Aryan Women past and Present."
Simon Maloy has even more horrific details.

This isn't just beyond the pale -- it's probably the most significant major-media endorsement of American fascist ideology since the 1930s.

Now, we know that Beck bought whole into Jonah Goldberg's fraudulent Liberal Fascism thesis, and therefore probably believes that these American Nazis were evil "progressives" at heart. So it's likely he had a huge blind spot about the fact that American fascists of the 1930s were far-right ideologues whose favorite pastime was Red-baiting. People like Elizabeth Dilling.

But at least someone on his staff had to be aware of her background. Most likely it was pointed out to Beck and he ignored it.

At the minimum, Beck needs to renounce his endorsement and apologize for making it. If he refuses, Fox must fire him.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Foxheads Freak Out When Rep. Linda Sanchez Points Out The White Supremacists Lurking Behind Arizona's Immigration Law

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

All day yesterday on Fox, the talking/shrieking heads were all worked up about some comments from Rep. Linda Sanchez about Arizona's SB1070:
A California congresswoman is pointing the finger at white supremacist groups, who she says have inspired Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., told a Democratic Club on Tuesday that white supremacist groups are influencing lawmakers to adopt laws that will lead to discrimination.

"There's a concerted effort behind promoting these kinds of laws on a state-by-state basis by people who have ties to white supremacy groups," said the lawmaker, who is of Mexican descent. "It's been documented. It's not mainstream politics."
Oh my God! Somebody tossed a little Baby Ruth of Truth into the swimming pool!

Rick Folbaum told Jon Scott that Sanchez got her information from those notorious dispensers of inconvenient information, a left-wing blogger. (Hey, it coulda been C&L.) Megyn Kelly demanded of Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza that she denounce these horrendous words. And Sean Hannity didn't even bother to query into whether what Sanchez said might be accurate -- he just ran a quick segment sneering at her "Liberal Lie".

The problem they have is that it's in fact perfectly accurate. Sanchez may have gotten the information from a blogger, but it's more than likely the blog got its information from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League -- both of which have, as Sanchez suggested, fully documented that a number of the leading "respectable" anti-immigration organizations are in fact fronts created by white-supremacist ideologues.

You see, Fox and everyone else has been running commentary from Kris Kobach, a well-paid lackey for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kobach has been boasting on Fox and elsewhere that he and his fellows at FAIR are helping to push the Arizona immigration law in other states as well.

Well, FAIR is exactly what Linda Sanchez described. And it's not exactly news, either. Here's the SPLC's rundown on the three main groups involved in promoting the Arizona law:
FAIR, which Tanton founded and where he remains on the board, has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Among the reasons are its acceptance of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials that funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics. FAIR has also hired as key officials men who also joined white supremacist groups. It has board members who regularly write for hate publications. It promotes racist conspiracy theories about Latinos. And it has produced television programming featuring white nationalists.

CIS was conceived by Tanton and began life as a program of FAIR. CIS presents itself as a scholarly think tank that produces serious immigration studies meant to serve "the broad national interest." But the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked, and it has frequently manipulated data to achieve the results it seeks. Its executive director last fall posted an item on the conservative National Review Online website about Washington Mutual, a bank that had earlier issued a press release about its inclusion on a list of "Business Diversity Elites" compiled by Hispanic Business magazine. Over a copy of the bank's press release, the CIS leader posted a headline — "Cause and Effect?" — that suggested a link between the bank's opening its ranks to Latinos and its subsequent collapse.

Like CIS, NumbersUSA bills itself as an organization that operates on its own and rejects racism completely. In fact, NumbersUSA was for the first five years of its existence a program of U.S. Inc., a foundation run by Tanton to fund numerous nativist groups, and its leader was an employee of that foundation for a decade. He helped edit Tanton's racist journal, The Social Contract, and was personally introduced by Tanton to a leader of the Pioneer Fund. He also edited a book by Tanton and another Tanton employee that was banned by the Canadian border officials as hate literature, and on one occasion spoke to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group which has called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity."

Together, FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA form the core of the nativist lobby in America. In 2007, they were key players in derailing bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that had been expected by many observers to pass. Today, these organizations are frequently treated as if they were legitimate, mainstream commentators on immigration. But the truth is that they were all conceived and birthed by a man who sees America under threat by non-white immigrants. And they have never strayed far from their roots.
The SPLC has further details about John Tanton and about FAIR, notably the accumulated record that induced the SPLC to designate it a hate group:
Founded by Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. Just last February, a senior FAIR official sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.
It's not just the SPLC that has reached this conclusion. The Anti-Defamation League's assessment falls along similar lines.

Finally, it's worth remembering that the two people most associated with SB1070 in Arizona -- its coauthor, State Sen. Russell Pearce, and the law-enforcement officer whose immigration obsession inspired the law, Maricopa County's Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- themselves in fact have documented associations with Arizona neo-Nazis.

Fox may think they can whip this up, bloody shirt style, in favor of the Arizona law's advocates. I'd wager those same people are wishing they'd just let it quietly drop. Because Linda Sanchez told the truth, and they all know it.

Beck Says Progressives 'Co-opted' The Civil Rights Movement. Seems He Forgot What Conservatives Did.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck seems to be on a crusade of sorts to try to claim the Civil Rights Movement for conservatives. Lotsa luck with that, big guy.

Yesterday on his Fox News show he opened a segment with this:
Beck: I told you this summer that we are going to concentrate on restoring history. The history of our nation, the founding, the 20th century, the Depression era, um, and the Civil Rights Movement, which has been co-opted by progressives.
Of course, if Beck wants to make this claim, he won't be "restoring" history, unless by "restoring" you mean "utterly falsifying and inverting on its head".

Because, of course, as we've explained several times, the Civil Rights Movement from its very inception was a progressive cause. Beck's favorite Civil Rights icon, Martin Luther King, was a leading advocate of the same "social justice" that Beck now openly despises.

This whole project of Beck's -- built around his August 28 "Restoring Honor" rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial -- is more than a little peculiar. It's become evident he wants to claim the mantle of the Civil Rights Movement for he and his fellows on the American Right.

There's only one little problem with all of that: Not only was the Civil Rights Movement a progressive cause from the start, it was the American Right that opposed, attacked, condemned, and undermined the Civil Rights marchers at every turn. It was conservatives, the Glenn Becks of their day, who publicly reviled them and inspired the deadly lynch mobs and Klansmen who committed acts of violence against them.

Indeed, some of their propaganda looks more than a little familiar, don't you think?


This, you see, was a flier that was distributed widely as part of a campaign to discredit King as a Communist. Among the formost leaders in that campaign, especially among Mormons, was none other than the Church's future president, Ezra Taft Benson.

Here are some prime quotes from Benson:
“LOGAN, UTAH-Former Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson charged Friday night that the civil-rights movement in the South had been ‘formatted almost entirely by the Communists.’ Elder Benson, a member of the Council of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a public meeting here that the whole civil-rights movement was ‘phony.’” (Deseret News, Dec. 14, 1963)

“The Communist program for revolution in America has been in progress for many years and is far advanced. While it can be thwarted in a fairly short period of time merely by sufficient exposure, the evil effects of what has already been accomplished cannot be removed overnight. The animosities, the hatred, the extension of government control into our daily lives–all this will take time to repair. The already-inflicted wounds will be slow to heal. First of all, we must not place blame on the Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans–black or white–really understands the full implications of today’s civil-rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the Communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather
than their own.

Next, we must not participate in any so-called ‘blacklash’ activity which might tend to further intensify inter-racial friction. Anti-Negro vigilante action, or mob action, of any kind fits perfectly into the Communist plan. This is one of the best ways to force the decent Negro into cooperating with militant Negro groups. The Communists are just as anxious to spearhead such anti-Negro actions as they are to organize demonstrations that are calculated to irritate white people.

We must insist that duly authorized legislative investigating committess launch an even more exhaustive study and expose the degree to which secret Communists have penetrated into the civil rights movement. The same needs to be done with militant anti-Negro groups. This is an effective way for the American people of both races to find out who are the false leaders among them” (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference Report, Oct. 1967).
See, in order for Glenn Beck to convince his fellow conservatives to claim the mantle of the Civil Rights movement, he essentially has to persuade millions of people who have opposed it with every fiber of their beings for most of their lives to completely reverse course and claim the opposite of their former beliefs.

This is the juncture where Beck's "Civil Rights" campaign runs smack into one of his own long-running threads -- namely, he has doggedly accused the Obama administration of harboring "Marxists" and "Communists": that was, after all, the predicate of his attacks on Van Jones. That happens to be consonant with Beck's running espousal of the works of Mormon leader W. Cleon Skousen -- a man who was in fact a close friend and ally of Ezra Taft Benson's, and shared Benson's belief that Martin Luther King was a secret Communist.

One hopes that, before Glenn Beck mounts the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August, the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement -- especially those survivors who were present when conservatives were their self-declared enemies and progressives were their only allies -- will speak up and condemn this travesty.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Our 'Over The Cliff' Website: A Resource For Progressives Coping With Insane Right-Wingers

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

One of the reasons John and I are extremely proud of our new book, Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane, is that while we tried to make sure it was entertaining and amusing and insightful, we above all wanted it to be a resource for progressives in coping with the nonstop deluge of disinformation, lies, and smears that have been the stock in trade of movement conservatives in the past year and a half.

We especially conceived it as a resource for progressives who have to deal with friends, family members, and workmates who succumb to irrational siren song of movement conservatism and their nonstop shouting heads. We believe that, even after you're done reading it, you'll be able to turn to it over and over for information that puts their insanity in perspective.

This is embodied, we think, in official Over the Cliff website we've created for the book. Among other things, we'll post all the book-related information there, as well as posts reporting on continuing right-wing insanity.

But first and foremost, the site is the home of our complete documentation for the book. And as such, we think it will prove to be an incredibly useful resource for progressives.

Online documentation is an important innovation in itself, and one we readily embraced, rather then placing the Notes at the book's end -- because when the referenced material is also online, readers using online notes, unlike traditional notes, can click over and actually read the article in question themselves, to see if it is cited accurately.

We took this innovation a step further: Because so much of Over the Cliff is derived from video material, when you click on links to Crooks and Liars posts -- and there is a high percentage of them in our documentation -- you can actually watch them saying it. It provides a much richer and stronger context than the snippets we can provide in book form.

This is an exciting new chapter in the evolution of publishing, and we're proud to be in the forefront. Most of all, we're proud to have built such a resource for our fellow truth-tellers.

As Rick Perlstein put it in his blurb for the book:
John Amato and David Neiwert have produced a book that should stay on shelves for 50 years—long enough to remind us that at least some people understood the strange and vile energies consuming the social contract at the beginning of the third millenium. As a record of what is happening to American conservatism in the year 2010, Over the Cliff is unmatched.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

It's All About Glenn: Mea Culpa For Attack On Malia Obama Doesn't Clear Up His Self-Delusion Problem

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck decided to follow up his brief and lame apology on his website for his wildly unpopular attack on 11-year-old Malia Obama last week on his radio show by giving a heartfelt, sincere mea culpa on his Fox News show yesterday.

Apropos of someone for whom "sincere" is just a schtick, the mea culpa was all about Beck -- a tale of how he was an a-hole to his wife, snapping at her and cursing self-righteously when she asked him what he was thinking, and then realizing he was wrong and begging her forgiveness and now the world's.

Funny thing about Beck and forgiveness: He's always preaching about the power of self-forgiveness -- that's what his whole "Christmas Sweater" schtick is all about -- but I always get the feeling that he never takes the crucial step of obtaining forgiveness from the people who he's actually wronged. I've always wondered whether he ever sought the forgiveness of the wife of his rival DJ in Phoenix who he called up on air and humiliated over her recent miscarriage. I'd wager not.

Nor did he yesterday at any point seem to contemplate that he's horribly wronged a young woman who has done nothing to earn such a vicious and nasty attack. Instead, it was all about Beck realizing he had broken one of his "rules".

What are Beck's "rules"? He put it this way -- when the subject was Sarah Palin:
Beck: There's a difference! Leave my family -- leave people's families alone! I don't think I've -- I mean, I don't think I have ever -- I mean, I made this when it was Bill Clinton -- you don't go after Chelsea Clinton! You don't talk about the Bush kids! Now, the minute they get into politics, that's a different story. You leave the families alone! We've never done anything but protect the families, and question why the White House would bring their children into political debate. Leave the families alone!
Yesterday, he continued on the same note, describing his apology to his wife:
Beck: I said, 'Honey, you are right. And there is absolutely no excuse or reason to ever, ever, EVER -- even come close to the line of dragging somebody's family into the debate! I- I've never done it! I've never done it! Until last Friday. And I hope that's my bottom.
It probably won't be, because Beck's self-delusion is still very much intact insofar as what constitutes "dragging somebody's family into the debate."

Because we still recall vividly what remains the scummiest Beck show ever on Fox News -- the one where Beck smeared President Obama's dead mother:

You'll recall he tried much of the same kind of denial:
I want you to know that I am by no means attacking his family. And in fact, I think after the first five minutes of the show tonight, you're actually going to feel sorry for the little boy, Barry Obama -- the boy, the little one. This little boy. He's so cute! I don't feel sorry for the man, but the tragedy of this kid's childhood is staggering!
Lessee ... you're not attacking his family, but then turn around and immediately claim that they abandoned the poor little kid. Come again?
His parents, seemingly, from what you can piece together, his parents seemingly placed radical politics over everything else, including their little boy!

I am not one to talk. I grew up with a Dad who worked all the time. He was a small business owner, he owned the city bakery in Mount Vernon, Washington. And, um the only time I saw him was at work. I work all the time. My kids come to work, and we spend time at my job, or we travel together. A lot of us do this. We have long hours and we support our families.

But how many of us have been abandoned for the bakery? Or my job? Or your job? Would you ever leave your kid for that?

How about -- how many of us have been abandoned for a Marxist political theory? Or politics? This didn't happen to little Barack Obama once but twice. Both parents!
Of course, Obama's father did indeed essentially abandon his family -- but it wasn't for politics, it was for personal ambition: he wanted to attend Harvard without the encumbrances of a wife and tiny son. The senior Obama was not a particularly admirable guy.

But then Beck turns to the subject of Obama's late mother, who Obama himself described as "the one who was the single constant in my life," and "that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her."

How does Beck describe her? Why, as a commie sympathizer, of course:
She was described by a friend as, quote, "a fellow traveler." If anybody who reads about progressives and Marxism, you recognize that language.
Yes indeed we do. "Fellow traveler" is what the McCarthyite Red-baiters of the 1950s liked to call liberals. Of course, the proof for Beck is that Dunham actually supported Adlai Stevenson in the 1956 election. Impressive, no?
Dunham later left to Hawaii, to travel to Indonesia for a second time, and then she left her son to move to Pakistan. She left her son with her parents. This is the second time this poor little boy was left by a parent!
This is complete and utter rubbish. Stanley Ann Dunham did not at any time "abandon" her son, and Beck's claim that she did is a filthy smear of the lowest sort.
Sincerity is Glenn Beck's schtick. He does it well. But it's just a schtick.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Glenn Beck Gets On 'Rick's List' For Attacks On 11-Year-Old Malia Obama, Lame Apology

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

While CNN's Rick Sanchez isn't exactly an imposing media figure, and his "List" schtick doesn't exactly shake the world, but it does have an interesting quality -- it's drawn to a large extent from viewer input.

And so it was interesting that Glenn Beck's attack on Malia Obama and his subsequent lame-ass apology that really angered CNN's viewers. So Beck wound up on Sanchez's "List U Don't Want 2 Be On" this week:
This is apparently what many of you've been waiting for. It's around this time every day when I tell you who is on my list that you don't want to be on.

Sometimes we debate this throughout the day with my staff, our producers. Just about everybody gets in on the conversation. We take this pretty seriously, because it casts the person in a rather bad light oftentimes.

There seems to be, today, no debate, not from my staff, not from writers, not from my producers. And judging from what I'm reading here throughout the day on Twitter, not from you. In fact, you could say today's is a slam-dunk.

We are talking about the Fox News host and the radio jock who has been known to take repeated shots at President Obama, most notably at one point calling the president a racist. Defenders of this popular TV and radio personality say it's simply part of his schtick, but now many of you on Twitter and on blogs that I've been reading have come to the conclusion around the country and are saying that in this one case, he has gone too far.

Glenn Beck went on relentlessly last week on his radio show making fun of Malia -- Malia, the president's daughter. It seemed to go on and on and on, while Beck seemed to be literally -- you'll hear it for yourself, folks -- cracking himself up at the expense of an 11-year- old.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Daddy? Daddy? Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?


SANCHEZ: That is a grown man doing an impression of the president's daughter. Many of you are asking, shouldn't that be out of bounds? Beck is accusing, first of all, the president of the United States during his monologue of using his own children.

He continues.


BECK: "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?" That's the level of their education, that they're coming to daddy and saying, "Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?"


SANCHEZ: Glenn Beck, as you just heard, is questioning Malia's level of education. That's what he just said. "That's their level of education," referring, obviously, to -- well, Malia.

The point many of you make is, why did he continue pouring it on, even after he made his point? I can't show you all of it, but you ask, why did he keep doing it time after time after time, making fun of her over and over and over again?


BECK: Daddy, the best thing you ever did was get that BlackBerry, because, well, I can't -- I don't know how to reach you.


SANCHEZ: Michelle Obama has not yet commented on Beck's parody of her daughter. We don't know if she will. But many of you who are parents have commented.

You say you find what Beck is doing cringe-worthy, especially the chuckling and the snorting and the yucking it up with his radio sidekick, while he's making fun of her. And it just seems to go on and on and on, you say.


BECK: Daddy, you're a puppet. Did you know that? And we do a puppet show. Mommy said your presidency is like doing a puppet show.


SANCHEZ: Beck is now apologizing, but you'll notice in the apology that he again takes a shot at the president of the United States, almost as if he's implying it is the president's fault he was forced to do this.

"I'm discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism. I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of the political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize. As a dad, I should have known better."

What many of you say is that Glenn Beck has crossed the line. You say he's OK to criticize the president, but not the president's daughter.

And if it was just a mistake, a one-time thing, why did he continue doing it on and on and on, as you have written to me, seemingly relentlessly? That's what you say about a man making fun of an 11- year-old on the radio and laughing. It's why you say he deserves to be today's "List U Don't Want 2 Be On."
There's a reason Beck's ratings are in rapid decline: People have had enough of this ugliness.
Glenn Beck is now officially the face of Ugly America. We hope he wears it proudly.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Right Is Slowly Making Casual Talk About Violence Against 'The Other' Acceptable

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

It's becoming evident that conservatives no longer consider open advocacy of violence against other people anything more than a mild social faux pas, an embarrassing slip of the tongue, if those people happen to be their "enemies" -- liberals, Muslims, immigrants, gays and lesbians, anyone who fits the description of The Other.

That's been made evident in two recent incidents involving violent eliminationist rhetoric from right-wingers in high-profile positions -- cases that, had roles been reversed and the targets instead were Republicans, would have certainly aroused not just the wrath of the right-wing talk machine but numerous "centrists," and the persons who uttered them would have been summarily fired.

The first involved a math teacher in Jefferson County, Alabama, who helped illustrate a geometry problem for his students by having them figure out the shooting angles for assassinating President Obama. Initially, everyone in town, including school officials, were happy to make excuses for him and let him off easy. It wasn't until there was broad national outrage over the story that they wound up giving him a suspension:
Gregory Harrison, the teacher at Corner High School in Jefferson County, Alabama, was to receive a slap on the wrist in the form of a "long conversation" with the local school authorities, after sparking a Secret Service investigation when he discussed possible angles to use in shooting at the president.

But officials only later decided they needed to take tougher action against Harrison following a flood of calls from people outraged at the lenient treatment.
Last week in Houston, a talk show host named Michael Berry -- who at one time was the city's Mayor Pro Tem -- went on his regular show and, during an exchange with a Muslim man named "Tony", declared that if Muslims dare build a mosque in the near vicinity of the World Trade Center site in New York City, then he hopes someone blows it up.

From Amanda Terkel at ThinkProgress:
BERRY: No, Tony, you can’t build a mosque at the site of 9/11.

TONY: Why not? Why not?

BERRY: No, you can’t. And I’ll tell you this: If you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up. ... I hope the mosque isn’t built, and if it is, I hope it’s blown up. And I mean that.

Let me tell you something, Tony. It's the right-wing nutjobs that are gonna keep this for people like you from the people that come for ... It’s right-wing radicals like me that are going to keep this country safe for you and everyone else from the people who are flying the planes from the country you fled from. If you want to identify with those people, go live with them.
This, of course, comes only a short while after someone in Florida actually did try to blow up a mosque.

At what point does this become outright incitement?

Berry, predictably, made a typical right-wing "apology":
While I stand by my disagreement of the building of the mosque on the site, I SHOULD NOT have said “I hope someone blows it up.” That was dumb, and beneath me. I was trying to show “Tony” how much I opposed his opinion, but I went too far. For that, I apologize to my listeners.
How about an apology to the Muslims whose lives he wished openly would be ended by a "right-wing nutjob"? Heaven forfend that he would apologize to his actual victims.

Typically, Berry was defiant at his website, sneering at efforts by Muslim Americans to hold him accountable to the incendiary attacks. (Kinda like Glenn Beck that way.)

Right-wingers like Berry, and Pam Atlas, and Michelle Malkin, and on and on, want everyone to just declare all of Islam our "Enemy" and be done with it. Look at how Berry ranted at "Tony":
But I'll tell you this -- whatever country you came from? If a Christian in the name of Christianity or a Jew in the name of Judaism had dared do what you did, you would issue a fatwa for everyone looked just like 'em! And for a thousand years you wouldn't allow a temple or a Christian church to be built there. And you damned well know it!
You see, in the minds of guys like Michael Berry, all Muslims are guilty of having caused the 9/11 attacks. They're wired to think that way, and nothing, not even reality, will shake them out of it.

This cropped up in Tea Party leader Mark Williams' vicious remarks about Muslims while leading a protest against the WTC mosque:
Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, blogged about the 13-story mosque and Islamic cultural center planned at Park Place and Broadway, calling it a monument to the 9/11 terrorists.

"The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists' monkey-god,"
Williams, a frequent guest on CNN, wrote on his Web site.

His statements drew a sharp rebuke from City Hall and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.

... "It would be shocking if such ignorant comments failed to elicit a strong response not only from Tea Party leaders, but from other parties throughout the political spectrum," said Corey Saylor, the Muslim rights group's national legislative director.
It's not shocking at all -- because there was no such strong response, of course, nor will there be.

For the Right, that's just a "strong opinion." In essence, mainstream conservatives now condone this kind of talk -- because, evidently, they see nothing wrong with it.

One can only imagine what would have happened if someone had said similar things about Catholics or Baptists, or if a liberal geometry teacher had taught students how to shoot President Bush -- the nonstop outrage at Fox, the breathless denunciations on talk radio, the hand-wringing by Beltway Villagers.

Funny how it never seems to work in the other direction, isn't it?