Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nutballs Speak Out at Glenn Beck Tea Party: Burn the Brainwashing Books

The right-wing rants against the Obama Administration (and pretty much everything else in contemporary society) are getting scary.

The evidence: Here is the transcript from a Glenn Beck Tea Party, courtesy of the website Little Green Footballs (which has the video):
At a “Project 912 Glenn Beck Tea Party,” an unnamed speaker rants about “infiltration by the Communist Party” (a John Birch Society talking point), says that digital cable boxes are “brainwashing machines” planted in our homes by the government, and swears to stop paying taxes. The rant begins at about 1:58.

This is some really deranged stuff, and the audience is eating it up.

And notice the comment about evolution at about 5:00:

Woman: [Shouts] “Burn the books!” [applause]

Man: “I don’t think you were serious about that, were you?”

Woman: “I am too.”

Man: “Burn all the books?!”

Woman: “The ones in college, those, those brainwashing books.”

Man: “[laughs] Brainwashing books?”

Woman: “Yes.”

Man: “Which ones are those?”

Woman: “Like, the evolution crap, and, yeah...”

25 comments:

Tulsan said...

Give 'em plenty of media rope.

Man of the West said...

Hmmmm. Quick question: of the governments that have actually burned or otherwise eliminated books in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, how many of them have been conservative Christian governments?

The honor of being the leading book-burners in the world these days goes to you on the Left, hands down. You have Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and Mussolini (Yes, Hitler and Mussolini: socialists both, national socialists, to be precise. Those two gentlemen are yours, not ours) to your credit. We conservative Christians can't hold a candle to your distinguished record.

Don't flatter yourselves. The thought police are overwhelmingly on the Left. You have the track record to back it up.

Tulsan said...

Well, I suppose by that rather "generous" logic, we could consider Nazi Germany a Christian government since Hitler professed Christianity.

Wikipedia: In his speeches and publications Hitler spoke of his interpretation of Christianity as a central motivation for his antisemitism, stating that "As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice."
#####

But that would be as absurd as calling the Nazi Party socialist because they included the word "socialist" in their name.

Are we compelled to accept at face value any self-applied label?

Wikipedia: Sometimes the full name of such republics can be deceptive: having "people's" or "democratic" in the name of a country can, in some cases bear no relation with the concepts of democracy (neither "representative" nor "direct") that grew in the West. In fact, the phrases "People's Republic" and/or "Democratic Republic" were part of the official titles of many Marxist states during the Cold War, including East Germany, North Korea, Mongolia, and today's People's Republic of China.
####

Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and Mussolini represent the left? This is straight out of Jonah Goldberg's recent right-wing propaganda piece, "Liberal Fascism":

Wikipedia: In The Nation, Eric Alterman complained that Goldberg's grouping of left-wing politics with fascism is based on weak, tenuous associations: "Some fascists were vegetarians; some liberals are vegetarians; ergo... Some fascists were gay; some liberals are gay... Fascists cared about educating children; Hillary Clinton cares about educating children. Aha! . . . This is a book that argues that Woodrow Wilson 'was the twentieth century's first fascist dictator' and that it is 'impossible to deny that the New Deal was objectively fascistic.'"
#####

Tulsan said...

Goldberg was interviewed about this book by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. See it here. It's funny and worth watching.

Dave said...

I think it is misconception to label Hitler and Mussolini as leftists. Sure their party was called the National Socialist party but if you look at the things that they promoted, not much of it is what I would call liberal in nature. This again may be where the difference between the "left" and liberalism comes into play, but honestly throwing the Hitler card is so over-used that it makes me want to vomit. Hitler was a horrible, murderous tyrant and has really nothing at all to do with the modern political parties in America.

Tulsan said...

Rachel Maddow's corollary to Godwin's law:

As the time a liberal candidate is believed to be winning an election or argument increases, the probability that they will be labeled communist or socialist approaches one.

Tulsan said...

Another interesting aspect of these "tea parties" is that they are "astroturfed" (fake grassroots.)

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman touches on that fact in his most recent column, Tea Parties Forever:

"...it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News."

AND

"President Obama is being called a 'socialist' who seeks to destroy capitalism. Why? Because he wants to raise the tax rate on the highest-income Americans back to, um, about 10 percentage points less than it was for most of the Reagan administration. Bizarre."

Man of the West said...

Oh, come on, now. The principle method of demonizing conservatives here--not speaking of you, Dave--is to tar them by association with someone, or some idea, that we wouldn't claim. In this post, if I'm not very much mistaken, the objective is to tar conservatives or republicans by suggesting that since this woman shows up at a tea party, her views must be representative.

I've lost count of the times people on the Left have brought up the "extreme conservatism of George W. Bush," when the reality is that most conservatives won't claim him.

And now, your principle defense against the perfectly accurate charge that the actual book-burners amongst modern governments, the genuine thought police, have been creatures of the Left, is to say, more or less, "Oh, those aren't real socialists. Just because Hitler's party claimed to be socialists doesn't mean they were socialists."

Well, fine, then: just because this woman showed up at a tea party, and just because George Bush claimed to be a conservative doesn't mean that either of them are actually conservatives.

Tulsan, you seem to have this idea that if you can make Jonah Goldberg look bad, the idea that fascism is a variety of socialism will vanish into the ether. I've told you before that though Goldberg's book is a valuable resource, it's not at all as though the ideas are new. I was familiar with these ideas in the ninth grade. I'm afraid that when Hitler and Mussolini claimed to be socialists, just a different variety of socialists, going so far as to retain the name "socialist" in the name of the Nazi Party, it made it kind of inevitable that fascism and socialism will be thought of in the same breath throughout the rest of time. Not my fault, nor Goldberg's; take it up with Hitler and Mussolini sometime.

I'll grant you readily that there are varieties and levels of socialism, just as I'll readily grant you that there are peaceful Muslims (the majority of Muslims, in fact, I'll readily grant, are peaceful); but I will contend that ever since the French Revolution, the seeds of tyranny are contained in the ideas of the Left, just as the seeds of violent jihad are contained in the life of Muhammad. Sometimes they blossom, sometimes they don't, but they are nevertheless there.

Dave, I'm sure you are absolutely accurate when you say:Sure their party was called the National Socialist party but if you look at the things that they promoted, not much of it is what I would call liberal in nature.

I'm sure you recall me mentioning to you the other day that much of the problem these days lies with category errors--people calling things liberal or conservative and getting the labels wrong. I could dwell on that here, but I'm just about out of time. You will see what I mean, I think, when you read my definitions of liberal and conservative.

Think about this, Dave: We bring Ted Kennedy into the conversation thusly: Sure, Dave's blog is called "Oklahoma Lefty," but if you look at the things that he promotes, not much of it is what I would call liberal in nature.

You see the problem?

Tulsan said...

Man of the West said: "...people on the Left have brought up the 'extreme conservatism of George W. Bush,' when the reality is that most conservatives won't claim him."

Tulsan: Conservatives had no problem pressing W deeply into their bosoms until he started to look like a liability. Then, they decided he wasn't conservative any more. To quote Digby, "Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed."

MotW: "...your principle defense against the perfectly accurate charge that the actual book-burners amongst modern governments, the genuine thought police, have been creatures of the Left, is to say, more or less, 'Oh, those aren't real socialists.'"

Tulsan: Sorry, the National Socialist German Workers ("Nazi") Party was no more socialist in nature by the inclusion of that word in its name than the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was democratic for the same reason.

MotW: "I'm afraid that when Hitler and Mussolini claimed to be socialists, just a different variety of socialists, going so far as to retain the name 'socialist' in the name of the Nazi Party, it made it kind of inevitable that fascism and socialism will be thought of in the same breath throughout the rest of time."

Tulsan: Inevitable only for propagandists, and those so impaired by 'name magic' that they are unable to comprehend the actual nature and actions of the party.

Man of the West said...

MotW: "...your principle defense against the perfectly accurate charge that the actual book-burners amongst modern governments, the genuine thought police, have been creatures of the Left, is to say, more or less, 'Oh, those aren't real socialists.'"And, just like clockwork, case in point:

Tulsan: Sorry, the National Socialist German Workers ("Nazi") Party was no more socialist in nature by the inclusion of that word in its name than the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was democratic for the same reason.I swear, I could've written it for you. :)

Inevitable only for propagandists, and those so impaired by 'name magic' that they are unable to comprehend the actual nature and actions of the party.My thoughts exactly, only turned back around on you, of course. :)

Tulsan, I hope you understand that I hate the heck out of your ideas, but I don't have any reason to dislike you as a person.

I rather get the impression from a tidbit here and there that you and I and ALT may actually live within a few miles of each other. We'll have to have a beer sometime. I may take some time off in September.

I am beginning to think that you think of socialism as a good thing, and fascism as a bad thing. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from your attempts to defend against the idea that fascism is a variety of socialism; it seems to be of more importance to you than I would have thought.

Am I right? Do you think of socialism as a good thing?

Tulsan said...

I'm not much of an "-ism" guy. But I feel pretty good about saying that Fascism is not a Good Thing.

As for Socialism, let's focus on a couple of discrete examples in our country: Social Security and Medicare. I think those are Good Things. Most Americans agree with me.

I'm curious. If you are as against socialism as you say, will you refuse to take advantage of them?

Perhaps your family is well-to-do enough to skip Social Security and of such strong stock that Medicare will not be needed.

Or you may protest that you have been taxed against your will, so you are merely trying to get your rightful money back.

Assuming you had not had these percentages withheld from your paycheck, would you have had the funds and the foresight to provide that much of a safety net for your family? Or are you secretly relieved that they do exist?

Man of the West said...

Those are fair questions. The short answer is that I've never blamed anyone for operating under the rules as they exist. My goal is to change the rules--and, for what it's worth, I don't advocate doing this all at once. To have a chance of being successful, those programs would have to be phased out, probably over a period of up to three decades. At least two, I would think.

Would I have had the foresight to cope without them? Who can know, Tulsan? But I would like to have had--and for my children and grandchildren to have--the opportunity to find out.

FWIW, I don't actually think that these programs are going to be viable by the time I hit retirement age. I do not anticipate being able to retire fully, but I hope to scale back to part-time at some point. And I am increasing my efforts to watch my health, as that is about all I can do.

Man of the West said...

BTW, I take your answer to mean that you prefer a mixed economy, just a certain amount of socialism, and the argument is forever going to be over how much. Have I read you correctly?

Tulsan said...

Indeed you have.

On the capitalist side, I have always been an assiduous saver and investor. I live way inside my means. And thanks to the magic of diversification, I didn't get hurt too badly in the recent stock market drop.

Capitalism is a great thing, especially when there are strong regulatory bodies, such as the SEC used to be, making sure everyone plays by the rules.

Unfortunately when big money gets too cozy with politics and government, those bodies get stripped of their power. The big money boys swindle their way to huge money, as has been happened to an astonishing degree in recent years.

Despite doing relatively well, I can tell you that I breathe easier with the belief that Medicare is likely to still be there. Who knows how high health costs will go during our later years? With the wrong breaks, almost anyone could be completely wiped out.

It was most unfortunate that Bush and co. declined to use the government's legitimate bargaining power to keep the price of life-saving drugs at an affordable level for millions. Instead, he and the GOP chose to cater to big pharm at the expense of us all.

I hope Obama succeeds in changing course to keep health costs from spiraling out of reach.

I, too, am paying attention to exercise and diet. Unfortunately, that is merely one large facet of the whole health picture.

So, yes, I like aspects of both capitalism and socialism. Pure system thinkers are the ones who tend to get the world into trouble.

Dave said...

Tulsan said -- "Unfortunately when big money gets too cozy with politics and government, those bodies get stripped of their power. The big money boys swindle their way to huge money, as has been happened to an astonishing degree in recent years."

On this I agree 100%.

Tulsan said...

Re the great intellectual socialism/fascism debate:

From Kos:

Via AMERICAblog, Saul Anuzis -- the former Michigan GOP chairman who recently joined Newt Gingrich's political machine -- explains why Republicans call President Obama a fascist:

"We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago," Mr. Anuzis said. "Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing."

Yep, that sounds about right.

Man of the West said...

I am continually amazed at the two worlds you live in. On the one hand, Republicans are idiots who couldn't be trusted to successfully run a popsicle stand; on the other, they are a diabolically well-organized and well-disciplined organization taking their talking points from the likes of Anuzis (whom I've never heard of) and Gingrich on everything under the sun.

Tulsan said...

Perhaps I can help resolve your perplexity.

Having been solidly in the driver's seat for 6 years, and effectively neutralizing the opposition for two more, the GOP gets full credit for policies and their consequences during those years.

It has become obvious that they collectively are not competent at managing the popcicle stand known as the U.S. government. Incompetent and corrupt, despite all the moralistic ballyhoo.

Yet their rise to power has been built on strict message discipline and a well-oiled propaganda machine playing to the basest instincts.

Competence in winning elections and competence in governing are two separate things, it turns out.

The unavoidable reality of the tanked economy (for which they get much of the credit) has brought into focus the many other failures of the GOP.

Laughably, the victory-hungry GOP has toyed with tactics more associated with Democrats: demonstrations (albeit astroturfed), bucking the top-down pecking order (sassing Boss Limbaugh.)

Obviously, it's not working for them, big time.

If they want to win again, and they do, they have to adapt. It is evident that the former "base" of the party is dwindling down to the Southern-based religious right wing.

We are seeing the GOP begin to test the embrace (as it were) of GLBT tolerance (see recent Steve Schmidt, Meghan McCain speeches.)

In summation: The GOP of today got where it is by tight top-down focus on winning politically, but that "virtue" has also made them disastrous at intelligent governance. That is the lesson of the last couple of decades. It will be a hard one for Americans to unlearn. Dramatic change will be required.

How much the future GOP (if any) will resemble the GOP of the past will interesting to follow.

Tulsan said...

Postscript: Mr. Anuzis was not enunciating a talking point for GOPers to follow, as you seem to suggest.

He was simply stating a bald-faced, if ill-advised truth about the GOP tactic of calling Obama a "fascist."

The usage has nothing to do with any actual meaning ascribed to the word, and everything to do with its effect.

Once the word's pejorative force is spent by propagandists, it will be discarded by all but historians and crackpot theorists. "Socialism" appears to have already arrived at that status.

Very few Americans are interested in precise definitions of concepts like fascism, socialism or conservatism from historical or philosophical perspectives, which are often diametrically opposed, anyway.

"Communism" as an ideal was one thing; the USSR's expression of it was something else again.

Just as "true conservatism" can be distilled and refined in theory, yet seen mostly these days in virulent forms outside of the lab.

Tulsan said...

The Democratic Party is to gun control, as the GOP is becoming to a gay marriage ban.

Both issues appear to be losers for their respective parties in the foreseeable future.

Man of the West said...

"Communism" as an ideal was one thing; the USSR's expression of it was something else again.Tulsan, every time I think I am done with this thread, that I have extracted all the entertainment value out of it that can be had, you throw one more thing out there that intrigues me. :)

You have already indicated that you prefer something of a "mixed economy," so I want to make it very clear that by asking this question, I am not implying that you are a closet communist, but I am nevertheless curious. What exactly do you mean by "'Communism' as an ideal..."? What Marx and Engels preached? Or something else? And where in history has this "ideal" been "expressed" in a way that you feel is consistent?

I would absolutely agree with as to this much:

Very few Americans are interested in precise definitions of concepts...More's the pity. I'm a little mystified as to the genesis of your last comment, though; as neither gun control nor gay marriage have come up, where on earth did that come from?

Tulsan said...

The Dems-gun control/GOP-gay marriage ban comment is only to say that both political parties are forced to swallow hard on some issues to stay viable politically, but the GOP is staring at a plateful of gristle.

The textbook definition makes communism sound delightful:

"'Pure communism' in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision-making process in both the political and economic spheres of life."

As usual, the devil is in the details. I know of no past implementation that resembles the textbook, nor do I think a new one is promising.

MotW: "...every time I think I am done with this thread, that I have extracted all the entertainment value out of it that can be had, you throw one more thing out there..."

I hope you are not suffering from ennui?

victor said...

wow very intresting blog
thanks for sharing ,,
___________________
victor
For 3 Months Enjoy Free 28 Premium Movie Channels

Anonymous said...

Εverу ωеekend i usеd tο
visіt thіs web рage, аs i wish for еnjoyment, sinсe this this website conations really
gοod funny data too.

my web pagе - payday loan
My web page - payday loan

Anonymous said...

These are actuаlly ωonderful ideas in concerning blogging.
You haνе touched sоmе gooԁ fаctors here.
Any way keеp uρ wrinting.

Check οut mу blog Same Day Payday Loans