Apparently, folks are passing out fliers at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in which Glenn Beck is pictured, followed by me. According to reports, not only am I funded by George Soros (again… show me the money!!??!) but I am “the new face of Fox News”. How d’ya like them rotten apples?
Read the Mother Jones article about the conspiracy theory here.
Upon learning that Glenn Beck will be “transitioning off” of his daily TV show on Fox News, I wrote a piece for ColorLines entitled, “5 Reasons To Miss Glenn Beck (and for Progressives To Learn From Him)”. Okay, there’s some sarcasm in there… but it’s mostly an honest assessment of what Beck does well. Yes, he’s crazy — but he may also be a crazy genius.
You’re gonna want to read this one:
I’ve had the honor all this week of guest blogging on the American Prospect TAPPED blog. Proud to contribute to their excellent legacy of progressive thought and analysis.
Here are links to all my posts:
Violence Helping Chris Brown’s Career?… “when we give abusers like Brown and Sheen obscene media attention while downplaying their atrocities, we just create role models for the little abusers of the future who will perpetuate violence against women.”
Stephen Lerner vs. the Real Economic Terrorists of Wall St.… “for the vast majority of working Americans struggling to pay their bills, in or on the brink of foreclosure, sacked with astronomical credit card debt and interest payments, stifled by student loans and the rising cost of education — Lerner’s plan is a beacon of hope. Disrupt corporations and the economy as it currently functions to make it work for working people!”
McCain, Liberman and Gadhafi Walk Into a Bar… … “One has to wonder if McCain and Lieberman were thinking about “what is best for the world as a whole” when they were patting Gadhafi on the back.”
Republicans Hate Obama … “It’s time for President Obama to stop worrying if Republicans like him. In fact, it’s time for him to stop worrying about being liked, period. His pattern of trying to be all things to all parties has led to policies and actions that, while they look bipartisan on paper, ultimately end up pissing off both his base and the opposition. Give up the ghost, dude!”
U.S. Isn’t Broke: Ask Gadhafi & Raymond Davis … “We have plenty of money to bailout Raymond Davis and bomb Gadhafi. In fact, ask America’s big-business executives, and they’ll tell you the only spending problem our government has is that it’s not spending enough money on them.”
In case you missed it, Glenn Beck and others on the Right believe that protests for democracy in Egypt are really (a) being instigated by progressives in America and (b) aimed at creating an Islamic “caliphate” to control the planet. Seriously. No, seriously
Sally gets out her white board… er, in this case, a napkin… to correct Beck’s twisted interpretation of reality.
Please watch and please spread.
I have an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor on Glenn Beck and his contortion of American history to attack the in fact very American value of “collective salvation”. Please check it out.
Here’s an excerpt:
“Fox News television host Glenn Beck says the idea of “collective salvation” – that our fates are linked – is “dangerous to the Constitutional republic.” He argues that related notions of social justice, redistribution, and ending oppression are fundamentally anti-American, communist creeds. American’s Founding Fathers would disagree. They embraced collective redemption and the protection of the common good.”
The One Nation Working Together march did not draw as many people to the Washington Mall as Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally a few weeks prior. And that is a good thing.
Glenn Beck and the Tea Party represent a very vocal minority, so worked up about the direction of our nation that they’ll pour into Washington by the hundreds of thousands to worship at the feet of a religious revivalism rooted in nostalgia for a white-washed version of America that never was. We already know, from poll after poll, that the Tea Party are whiter, wealthier and more male than the average American. And, despite all of their populist blustering, the Tea Party agenda is merely new clothes for the old wolf agenda of the pro-big business, elitist Right. The Tea Party is motivated to be hyper-vocal and hyper-visible precisely because they represent such an an incredibly small and fringe set of interests and ideas in our nation, with a very small following.
The hundreds of national and grassroots organizations behind the One Nation march represent the vast majority of Americans — literally, through their millions and millions of members, but also spiritually, morally. Organizations like the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club, the Children’s Defense Fund and SEIU stand for the core, shared values of our nation — that we once forged and now continue to forge a union knowing that each of our prosperity is dependent on the common good.
There are hundreds of millions of Americans frustrated that while Wall Street strong-armed big bank bailouts as profits and CEO salaries continue to rise, foreclosures are increasing, job opportunities are stalling and real wages for most of us continue to decline. There are hundreds of millions of Americans who understand that the way our economy works isn’t working for white people in Ohio, black folks in South Carolina or undocumented immigrants in Arizona. There are hundreds of millions of Americans who don’t care about the deficit remotely as much as they care about creating new jobs, reinvesting in our schools and our environmental future and redistributing real opportunity to all who work for it.
Unfortunately, these hundreds of millions of Americans are also incredibly disappointed. These are the Americans who believed in the hope and promise of Obama the Candidate and feel let down by Obama the President, in part because of an ossified political system in which the status quo is deeply entrenched on both sides of the aisle, but in part because Obama failed to chip away at or at least vigorously rail against that ossification (until fairly recently). These hundreds of millions of Americans want change. Their anger is not at the boldness of Obama’s agenda. Their anger is that more of it has not been achieved and, given the political system, seems increasingly and sadly unachievable.
These are the hundreds of millions of Americans the One Nation coalition represents. And unfortunately, these are the very people who are sitting at home popping Prozac rather than taking to the streets in protest. They were visible and vocal in 2008. Been there, done that, and look where it got us. Yes, we have historic and critical health care reform, the stimulus investment that staunched the bleeding recession, financial reform that will put Wall Street in check and more. But we still have jaw-dropping financial control of Washington by corporate interests. We still have the filibuster. And, despite every sign that it has failed us wildly, we still have the persistent dominance of Regan-era pro-corporate, trickle-down, neo-liberal economic ideology.
The Tea Party activists are disproportionately vocal and visible in comparison to their actual percentage of the population in part because they believe victory is within their grasp. The fact that, titular Democratic power of the moment notwithstanding, Right wing economic and social ideology continues to undergird much of the political establishment and discourse, is, for them, encouraging. It’s ironic when the Tea Party talks of “reclaiming America” since, ideologically, they very much already control the norm — from anti-government skepticism to deficit hawkishness, from a constant state of anti-terrorism warfare to widespread hatred of new immigrants. Meanwhile, the millions of Americans who want change, who see a positive role for government in creating an economy and a nation that truly works for all of us — they took a chance against the status quo and, despite all inclinations toward cynicism, believed in 2008 that change is possible. Two years and not enough change later, they’re feeling disheartened.
The real issue with the One Nation march on Washington this past Saturday versus the Glenn Beck rally or any other Tea Party gathering isn’t literally how many people show up but how many millions and millions of other people they actually represent. The good news is the One Nation organizations and their values and vision for our country represent far more Americans than the extremist, elitist Tea Party. The bad news is that, as the mid-term elections near, that Tea Party fringe is way more fired up and active.
At Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally this past weekend in Washington, DC, we learned two things:
1. That Beck and the Tea Party want to take a song that’s totally awesome when sung by black gospel singers and make it not only really white but really awful.
2. That it’s hypocritical to deny persistent racism while drawing on racial resentment to mobilize your audience.
Here’s the second edition of “Sally Kohn Bucks Beck” — hot off the digital presses:
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, spread this around!! Sometimes, the truth doesn’t have its own legs….
Welcome to a brand new series here at the Movement Vision Lab, combining thoughtful (and correct) political education and analysis with good ol’ fashion ranting and raving. In this case, I couldn’t take watching one more episode of Glenn Beck’s notorious show on Fox News without responding. So I have.
In this first episode, I debunk Beck’s claim that communism and fascism go hand-in-hand and are the goals of the progressive movement. Instead, I explain what progressives are actually working toward.
Watch it. Share it. And post comments with your ideas for future episodes.
Note: I found these emails on a secret thumb drive that was given to me around the same time that Laura Ingraham apparently got secret copies of the Obama Diaries. The emails below are as verifiable as Ms. Ingraham’s book. — Sally
Date: July 16, 2010 5:55 PM EDT
Subject: they’re the racists!
How dare those people at the NAACP call the Tea Party racist. The New Black Panther Party attack is clearly too ludicrous and won’t stick. We have to find something to make clear to America that it’s the NAACP and Obama who are really racist. Obviously!
Date: July 16, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Subject: Re: they’re the racists!
Hang on. I’m working on it.
Date: July 19, 2010 8:20 AM EDT
That video you dug up of the black lady from big government showing how the Obamacrats discriminate against whites is amazing. I heart you. Take that, NAACP!
Date: July 19, 2010 8:25 AM EDT
Subject: Re: awesomeness
You are the wind beneath my wings.
Date: July 19, 2010 8:26 AM EDT
I should mention it was edited a bit. But trust me, the rest of the video isn’t that important.
Date: July 19, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Subject: that was fast!
NAACP condemned Sherrod. Vilsack axed her. This is awesome! I bet Obama will be pissed when he finds out his administration fired a black person…
PS – I think on tomorrow’s show, I’ll suggest Obama make her czar of his anti-white agenda. Ha!
Date: July 19, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Subject: Re: that was fast!
Just doin’ my level best to expose the left-wing conspiracy.
Date: July 20, 2010 2:24 PM EDT
The entire video is NOT not important. She was trying to say she learned to OVERCOME her racism. Shit! You’re the total friggin’ racist for manipulating the video — and me. You hate black people AND white people! Especially white people! I feel oppressed.
Date: July 20, 2010 2:26 PM EDT
Subject: Calm down
Not my bad. If the NAACP and Obama weren’t so racist, they wouldn’t have fired her. I mean, really, it’s just a video. Don’t these people pay attention to context. I’m the one who should feel oppressed!
Date: July 20, 2010 2:28 PM EDT
Subject: Re: Calm down
You’re right. They’re total racists. Thank God America has us to expose their hate.
PS – You’re coming to my rally in DC in August, right? I’m doing it on the anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington. I think Dr. King would be honored.
There’s a movement afoot to repeal the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution which allows for the two US Senators from each state to be “elected by the people thereof.” As proof that the Tea Party wants to infringe on your democracy and make it easier for elite corporate interests to control Washington, they want to take away our vote and allow state legislators to secretly appoint Senators through back-room deals.
So apart from the obvious contradictions of claiming to be a populist, patriotic movement while attacking the popular vote and the democratic traditions of our nation, why else is repealing the 17th Amendment a bad idea?
One of the central themes of the Tea Party is the idea of returning to and honoring our Founding Father’s intent. Glenn Beck, who hosts Founders’ Friday every week on his show, recently evoked James Madison — who Beck called a “little cutie pie” — to make the case for repealing the 17th Amendment and taking American back to 1776.
Before we get too misty eyed and nostalgic, let’s remember what America was like in 1776 — and why the 17th Amendment was such a vital addition down the road.
The vaunted leaders at the Constitutional convention were all very wealthy, very white men and included the largest slave owners in the colonies. None of the Founders were very pro-equality on the subject of race, but some were more opposed to slavery than others. In particular, the North was more opposed to slavery than was the South. And the North had more people. So the South was worried that, if the new nation were just based on the popular vote alone, it would have less power and slavery would be abolished.
They created a Constitution to preserve slavery, with all sorts of compromises to appease the South and keep it — and slavery — in the union.
For instance, the North only wanted free persons to be counted for purposes of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives. But the South, which hand tons of slaves, wanted slaves to count too — even though they (like all black folks at the time) couldn’t vote. So the genius Founders agreed to count slaves as 3/5ths of a person, which gave the South more power in the House. This wasn’t changed until the 14th Amendment in 1868. (Maybe the Tea Party wants to repeal that one, too…)
The Senate was also created to give more power to the slavery-loving South — so less populous Southern states would have just as much say in the Senate — two seats — as more crowded Northern states. Why make Senator’s appointed by legislatures instead of elected by the people? Like the Electoral College — which unfortunately still remains — the point was to “insulate” politics from popular will. This was Madison’s idea of democracy. He said, “A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person.” Glenn Beck and the Tea Party, by siding with Madison on this point and wanting Senators to be appointed, are siding with the idea of elite rule by a very few rather than true, popular democracy. The inspiration, by the way, for this original idea of the Senate was the House of Lords in England. While “the people” were represented in the House of Commons, the other branch were only appointed from wealthy landowners and elites — who would make sure that the interests of the people would never completely win out over the interests of the wealthy, privileged elite.
The Tea Party doesn’t want state laboratories of democracy. They want elite fiefdoms ruling every level of government. It’s no accident that the state legislators the Tea Party and Glenn Beck want to give more power to are disproportionately wealthy and white — um, just like the Founding Fathers. The 17th Amendment originated after exposes in the early 1900s showed already-well-to-do state legislators using their Senate appointment power to get even richer.
Now, let’s get one thing clear. I think the Founders are great. I think the Constitution is great. I think our nation is great. But not perfect! The Founders, actually, recognized this too. They created a living, breathing document for a living breathing nation — that could be changed as needed. It was that little cutie pie Madison, for instance, who wrote the Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. (If we’re gonna start repealing amendments, let’s start with the 2nd instead!)
Madison said, “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” So the question is, who do you trust more? Do you trust the American people to directly elect our government? Or do you want to give more power to state legislators for them to potentially abuse? Do you want to believe that the American people can wisely change and carryout the governance of our nation, including amending the Constitution? Or do you think that a few wealthy elites from centuries ago still know absolutely best how our country should be run today?
Gee, I guess I put more faith in the American people than Glenn Beck or the Tea Party do.
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