Friday, April 17, 2009

Liveblogging White America's Inconvenience Tantrum, Part II: An Hour of Glenn Beck, Plus Pictures!

If you haven't read it, please click here for Part I.

This is the worst part. The actual transcription. I tune in early, so I catch the last half hour of Cavuto's show. I'm not sure what it's called. Body-Bag of Freedom, or All 50 States of the Entire World with Neil Cavuto or something. Sounds right. I don't know. The bit I see is revelatory, for three reasons.

One, Neil asks a pre-teen what he thinks about having his future mortgaged by the democratic party, without noticing that his mom's doing a perfectly good job of that already by yanking him out of school to learn lessons in Things That Bear No Resemblance to American History and, of course, How to Fuck Up A Protest. From where I sit, it looks like the kid would be happier scrolling the Facebook feed of all the girls he's in school with who've hit at least B-cups by now.

Two, Neil brings up a theme that Glenn Beck will flog repeatedly during his Hour of Glower: all these tea parties are completely non-partisan. Sure, once you look past the fact that the the audience is 99% conservatives, right-wingnuts, minarchists, libertarians and the few moonbats who never got raptured up out of the Ron Paul blimp, ignore that the Bush TARP program and Obama's bailout bills get mentioned at a rate of about 1:15, and forget that this event was organized by a right-wing "activist" group and heavily promoted and organized by a right-wing network at a deep discount—really, once you get past all that, it's probably pretty non-partisan.*

* — In fact, Beck goes on to almost beat people with this non-partisanship talking point, which seems perverse, given that most of his audience seems to hate it. It's one of the things I like about Beck. He'll just take something completely untrue and run with it, repeating it ad nauseam, until he's blinking back tears and beaming with a revelation he's given himself. It's what makes him remind me so much of Goebbels. Here he is, spending an hour talking about the federal government (kill it), gun control (none, ever), taxation (illegal), American exceptionalism (a truism), God (is great—allahu akbar—He should be everywhere) and life (sacred, up and until it meets point #2, gun control), etc. Non-partisanship is essentially taking one party's talking points, raving about them for an hour, then announcing that everyone agrees with them. It's brilliant.

3. Cavuto has Michelle Malkin on. Now, there's nothing I quite like more than seeing a petite asian woman who looks like she could be the pep squad leader outside the crematory in the middle of a genocide, but I just love listening to her talking about seeing all these Americans coming together in a spirit of liberty. As I've said before, Malkin wrote a book not only apologizing for the internment of the Japanese during WWII but also suggesting that it was more necessary than understood at the time — in support of her general contention that George Bush should have started throwing arab-americans into camps after 9/11. The reason this comes to mind is that Malkin is commenting favorably on a woman dressed up like an indian, throwing tea into the Sacramento River. Of course, if Malkin had been alive in 1773, she probably would have been in favor of completing the Amerindian genocide to put a stop to their terrorism of white manifest destiny. I don't even really know what my point is, other than that I suspect Michelle Malkin's body temperature is maintained somehow by burning corpses.

Anyway, I'm thinking all this over as I make myself a glass of iced tea and get out a bottle of pilsner, since I'm not sure whether I'm going to need to fire up my brain or just denude it. Annnnnnd...

We're Live with Glenn Beck at the Alamo!
(all times in EDT — and, remember, pictures to follow!)

Beck: All the media are talking about or strangely not talking about are the tea parties.
Awesome lie, right out of the gate! Hey, let's go take a look at what the front pages of, and look like right now!

Whoops! Well, you can't win 'em all.

Beck: That also goes to the media, you should watch as well.
Glenn here is doing a great job of, again, just lying about shit. Because, of course, Glenn is part of the media. In fact, he invokes the term "mainstream media" during this little speech, which ignores the fact that he is the mainstream media too. His show is on the #1 rated cable channel. It couldn't get more mainstream without being applied intravenously. Still, this is a good tactic for pretending to be the populist rabble-rouser who speaks truth to power, despite the fact that power is exactly what he wields great amounts of every time he's on TV.

Beck: 12.8 trillion dollars in six months!
Cavuto kept making this point, and it's nice to see Beck running with it, too. $12.8 trillion as a number is scary as hell. I don't blame them for using it. I just blame them for using it dishonestly: as in, omitting that that number is projected for the next ten years and hasn't been spent in the last six months and will be nowhere close to spent in the next six years. The sincerity of invoking this legitimate worry falls away when you remember that this is the same network that describes the annual expenditure for the Iraq war only in terms of specific budgetary allocation for it and omits all the emergency spending numbers for it.

Beck: (angry) We're americans who actually BELIEVE IN SOMETHING!
Beck returns to this well a lot. It could be for any number of reasons. One, "We're the party of Jesus." Two, "Liberals are godless, morally relativist swine." Or, three, "We're just more sincere than you." I actually think it's the latter. Indeed, at 5:41 in the program, Beck literally explains the left's critiques of him by saying, "They're destroying me because they don't actually think anyone could be sincere." He recites belief and values like talismans that ward off fact and argument. Why will our economy fare better if we do absolutely nothing?—because we believe in something. Why will that belief prevail in the face of economic woes?—because it has values. Why do people think I'm a disingenuous ass?—because they don't have beliefs or values because they're not sincere. Apply as needed, to everything, always.

Beck: It's about standing in front of that building which means something for the republic! Nobody's even standing on the grass of the Alamo because it's still a sacred place!
One, the Alamo means nothing for the American republic. Two, yes, Glenn, nobody's standing on the grass because the grass is cordoned off by chains, and because your producers spent hours setting up on this site and directing the crowd.

I should note here that Ted Nugent, best known for the song "Cat Scratch Fever," shooting every animal possible and becoming the legal guardian of an underage girl so he could fuck her, is at this rally and playing guitar riffs at strangely inappropriate times. On one hand, I hate The Nuge. On the other, it's unintentionally hilarious to watch Beck put his hands in the pockets of his chinos and swing his pelvis forward a little bit with an "ah, whee!" gesture and look like the unhippest non-CPA in human history whenever The Nuge starts rocking out.

The Nuge: These people are addicted to logic.
Okay, sort of dumb, because these people are also holding up signs that are variations on "Where's the Birth Certificate?" despite it being proved again and again that Obama was born in the United States, but much better considering:

Random Crowd Dude: Find out the true root of the problem, and that is the Fed. (paraphrase mine to word salad that follows:) RON PAUL, FIAT MONEY.
You can see Beck getting a little uncomfortable during this segment, and for good reason. The Tea Party concept was initially repopularized in the waning days of the Ron Paul '08 campaign as a last-ditch money bomb to push Paul into contention. It failed. But it's important to remember, because Beck and Co. are basically piggybacking on an idea reintegrated into mainstream political discourse by a man who is completely fucking insane. Paul is a Bircherite conspiracist of the most virulent stripe, and his railing against the Federal Reserve and secret cabals of "international financiers" is basically dog-whistle rhetoric for "JEWS!" On the subject of "The New World Order," he doesn't even bother with dog whistles. In fact, he spoke about it on Beck's own show. The problem is, Beck is co-opting the populist format of legitimately crazy and dangerous people and hoping they don't show up. By trying to harness these people's disaffection and join it to a larger and more mainstream movement, he's playing with fire, because so far he's only mainstreamed their hateful ideas without generating enough moderate interests to drown them out. For about 30 seconds, it looks like he's going to get burned, and you can see it all over his face.

Beck: Everyone wanted change in November, but I think most people didn't want change for big government and socialism.
(Ignores significant progressive electoral mandate, the fact that America has been a capitalist-socialist country for nearly 100 years, all manner of other facts.)

Beck: No better place for a tea party than the Alamo!
Nina Hendee: (explaining the history of the Alamo) They wanted freedom from tyranny... They were fighting for the same things these people are fighting for!

Nina is sort of right, but probably in ways she didn't intend. White American-born residents/squatters of the Mexican state of Texas certainly opposed Mexican taxes. They didn't pay them. They were tax cheats and outlaws. And they most certainly resented federal control of government. But not out of any noble vision of states' rights but because Mexican federal law prohibited them from owning people. Much like the Confederacy, the Alamo Texans fought for the right of liberty from the federal government and the right of local self-determination... so they could own other human beings. The fact is that Nina's likening of the people at the Alamo today to the defenders of the Alamo (then) uncomfortably points up how the crowd is 100% white and flying Confederate and Texas Republic flags and probably suffers no shortage of racists. It doesn't seem to have occurred to her. Nor does it seem to have occurred to her that the same people in the crowd who unmistakably oppose illegal immigration and support the war on terror are likening themselves to a group of people who exploited Mexico's lax immigration policy, were illegal immigrants, didn't pay taxes, created their own non-native culture and then engaged in acts of terror against the legitimate Mexican government to achieve their own "foreign" aims. So, in a way, Nina and Glenn are both right. The Alamo is the perfect place for a tea party if you're a racist with no familiarity with either history or irony — which much of the crowd undoubtedly is.

I should also note here that Beck includes both Penn and Janine on his show. Janine (last seen just moments before Northern Exposure went off the air a thousand years ago) fawns over a book that Beck wrote the forward to, while Penn is on via satellite to shill his true libertarian views. Aside from an amusing first season, Penn (and partner Teller's) show Bullshit is basically just a vehicle for libertarian ideology, much like South Park. And, like that other show, it relies almost exclusively on red herrings, false dichotomies, question begging, false equivalencies and ad hominem to demonize anything that isn't, "Gummymint is so dumb! Look at how I smarted them smarter with my leading questions! The truth is in the middle!"

Penn Jillette: Thomas Jefferson said that government would just keep getting bigger.
Bear in mind that this is the same Jefferson who, as president, controlled congress to such a degree that it moved in obedient lockstep with him until the last year of his term. Who so believed in small government that he orchestrated the Louisiana Purchase in a naked display of federal power. Who so trusted individual citizens that he suspended habeas corpus for Americans and was the first president to put them in internment camps (for defying his federal embargo). Who so believed in checks and balances that he wanted to destroy the Supreme Court when it defied him. And who so loved individual liberty that he owned people and raped them (because property cannot give consent). That Jefferson. Good choice, Penn. Love hearing the recycled pious insipidities about freedom that bear no resemblance to what the man believed about government as soon as he was in charge.

Janine Turner: What is it about Sarah Palin that [liberals] don't understand?
How she got nominated by a major party in any country in the western world.

Penn Jillette: I don't think people have caught on to how powerful the internet is.
(Ignores how the Obama campaign mobilized the internet better than any political group in history.)

Penn Jillette: (after mentioning Atlas Shrugged as a guide for the thinking of Tea Party members) All this can be done through non-violence.
Yes, Penn. I can see how a group of plutocrats deliberately destroying the economy, shattering lives and infrastructure, grinding all national functions to a halt and leading to the deaths of untold numbers of hand-to-mouth brown people and racially diverse members of the working class all to achieve the noble gesture of forcing society to accept how much we all "need" them is indeed an act of non-violence. In fact, it's probably altruistic of them.

The pièce de résistance to all of Beck's populist mummery is dragging Joe Horn onto the stage. You might not know who he is. Joe Horn is a Texas citizen who shot and killed two illegal aliens. He witnessed them breaking into a neighbor's house and called the police. After being told by the 911 dispatcher NOT to go out and interfere (repeatedly; the audio of the call is outrageous), he walked outside and allegedly shot them both in the back. Dead. A plainclothes detective on the scene reported this. Beck has him on as a hero in a flourish of theater so mind-rendingly horrifying that it really deserves being written exactly like theater (you can watch it here; click to 3:00 in):

Beck: (to Horn)
You saw people breaking into your neighbor's house... You shot them.
Horn: When your life is on the line, and you take a human life, I wanted to live. I wanted to live. And I was not gonna let those two men kill me. And I can assure you, if they'da got to me, they woulda killed me. So I shot 'em.
(crowd cheers)
The Nuge: (ten seconds later, plays tense tremor-sounding neck-tapping on guitar)
Beck: (red herring about another 911 call, righteous platitudes, guns)

Reminder that Joe Horn was safe inside his home and watching a crime somewhere else and was only ever in danger because he exited his house with a gun specifically to engage the people who didn't even know he was there. The whole thing should make anyone want to vomit. Also, since I had no idea where else to put this, let me just say that Glenn Beck is such a glutinous wad of overfed white Americana that he looks like 185 pounds of lard and bull semen poured into a 5-foot 8-inch man-shaped condom.

(closing out the show) The values that we all have: honesty, integrity, truth and the republic.
Attaboy! Way to close out on something so amorphous as to mean nothing, while implying that those not in the present "we" don't have them. Also, way to invoke the name of the republic in front of a crowd with Confederate flags symbolizing the political entity that attempted to destroy the republic. Also, seriously, can't congratulate you enough on whipping a bunch of people into populist democratic fervor about changing government while also holding up as a value the political system — a republic — which was designed to remove direct democracy from them and vest it in the hands of a group of chosen sober individuals precisely because the moral economy of the undiluted crowd was considered by the founders to be bankrupt, uninformed and socially terrifying. Which this entire hour of your show was, explicitly. Congratulations, you ass.

But, since I realize that was a wearying slog for everyone, not just me, perhaps we can close this out with something like sherbet. A palate cleanser. Yes, good old fashioned pictures of idiots, racists and the religiously intolerant!


I literally don't know what I'm talking about!

I literally don't know what I'm talking about, but I can do one or two things in MSPaint!

I literally don't know what I'm talking about, and I'm fucking lazy!

Congratulations—neither is the president.

Somehow while using this glory hole in a public restroom stall, I got confused about my message about OUR MUSLIM PRESIDENT.


I don't realize that nearly 80% of Kenyans are christian, but that's really secondary to my point that I come from white people, and your ancestors were all ooga-booga niggers!

The only words of the constitution I read were the first three because I accidentally dropped an Arby's Big Beef and Cheddar on the rest and was forced to eat the paper to get at all the gravy.

Please bring a gun next time and suicide by cop.

Yeah, sure, laugh all you want at his rhetoric, Ivory Tower Liberals. But admit it, when he was carrying a placard outside the MTV Video Music Awards reading, "The Silencing of Rap Rock Is ObaMaoTV's New Cultural Revolution!" you were all thinking the same thing: "Bawitdaba da bang da dang diggy, diggy."


I find repeatably verifiable objective evidence unpersuasive! Tell me again! (listens) Ahahaha, you can't fool me: this is just like all those MSM lies like "Climate Change" and "trying to fork-fuck the electrical socket makes you die." I said thanks but no thanks!

I don't know why this guy's complaining. If democrats free terrorists the same way current republicans think they free slaves, that means the democrats are going to spend the next 50 years doing their best to make sure brown people will be disqualified from voting by deceiving them as to the date of the election, kicking them off voter rolls, ensuring their precincts have fewer voting machines than white precincts or just good old fashioned makin' sure their votes get thrown out or never counted by relentless litigation. Come on, we're all on the same white side here, right?

White people are literally the most oppressed group in the United States.

Times this sign has applied to anyone in this picture while at Sonny's Real Pit BBQ: 0.

Yet I still had money to throw away on my faaaaabulous outfit! Time for those fatcats in Washington to rein in their discretionary spending!
*plays woooooooooop note on solid-gold slide-whistle*

For I so love our flag that out of respect for what it signifies, I will wear it like a parka in the rain. (Outlaw burning it, though.)

I love my country, but I fear my government now that all the domestic spying programs and suspensions of civil liberties that I gleefully cheerleaded for the last seven years might negatively impact me in vague ways that aren't covered by my previous "if you're not a criminal, then you have nothing to be afraid of" police-state rationale.

Look! Obviously I understand black people! They still like this joke from one of their "negro humor" shows that went off the air 15 years ago, right?

2001-2008: Look, even if you don't agree with the president or republicans like us, it's our duty as Americans to respect him and the party in the majority. Or, if not him or them, then the office of the president and the congress as a whole — even if they went dem after 2007 — and to do our best as citizens to promote his and their agenda for all of us.
January 2009-April 2009: WE'RE NOT IN CHARGE! KILL 'EM ALL!

I base my understanding of politics off straw-men from genre novels, and I vote!

Hahaha get it? Our president is a subhuman monkey. Not racist, though: Party of Lincoln.

Jews Jews Jews Jews Jews Jews JEWS! Arrrrrrgggghhhhh! JEWS!!!!!!

Aaaaaahaha!!!! I LOVE MAKING FUN OF FAGGOTS!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, though: liberty. (For everyone other than faggots.)

MY inability to pay attention to selling America to China while cutting taxes and spending out the ass for the last seven years is BARACK OBAMA'S problem.

So is everyone else in America. Because you are an idiot.

I know, I know, the rhetoric in those captions is strident and unfair, and I used the explosive N-word many of these people so dearly wish they could carpet-bomb the public square with. However, in the right's proud law-and-order tradition of seeking, wherever possible, an eye for an eye, I think it's fitting.

Because that's pretty much what the tea parties were about. Not a principled demonstration of American grassroots opposition to federal power and fiscal irresponsibility — just some hateful, amorphous verbal violence aimed in any direction that didn't eventually lead to even vague proximity to a fact. It wasn't even grassroots: it was organized by a powerful right-wing group and endorsed by two major right-wing leaders and promoted by the biggest right-wing (and biggest overall) cable news channel. And the objections to federal power issued by these people never escape fatuity, because the power they excoriate now is the same they demanded for president Bush. Ditto their objection to their taxation: the rates they suffer now were established by Bush; in fact, under Obama, unless they make $250,000 per year or more, their burden will lighten.

These demonstrations had nothing to do with Obama — or nothing to with him rationally, anyway. As the quote atop Part I of this blog post said, this was simply "Rage Day" for the right wing. The things Obama was blamed for on placards, being foreign, being muslim, being Hitler, being Stalin: none of them has the slightest bearing on reality, sense, documentation or even acceptability in reasonable discourse.

It's rage. It's racism, it's religious hate, it's political theater without definitions in any language. Look to their condemnation of Obama as fascist: the only part of that exchange that meets any historical definition of fascism is the person issuing it, in a fit of active hate of the foreign, the liberal, the socialist, the "other" that saps the glorious American rebirth. In the end, it was all a demonstration of a want of compassion, unity, thought and sense.

Which, in a way, can be best summarized by the story and words of this tea-party attendee:
After a lifetime of working, paying taxes and raising three children on her own, Wilder is struggling.

She said she retired on disability from M&T Bank three years ago after undergoing knee replacement and back surgeries. She lives on her Social Security and disability benefits. Last year, she petitioned the bankruptcy court for protection from creditors.

She said she did not have to pay federal income taxes last year because her income was too low.

"I don't want to see this country turn into a welfare, nanny state, where we stand in line for groceries, and we're in welfare lines, and in socialized medicine lines," Wilder said.
Words don't matter. Sense doesn't matter. Facts don't matter. Why would any of that matter when it's time to be angry?

Follow-Up Posts: Part IIIPart IVPart V