nothin's scarier than a blank page

31 May 2011

The Battle

There's a blogger out there whose been studying some of the messages coming out of the Arab Spring.  He's identified some common themes.  (Well, actually, they're more tropes than themes.  Pretty much, that means word play that changes meaning.  Irony, for example, is a trope. )

Common Enemy.  Antithesis employs us/them strategies that unite a group.  We do this but They do that.  The enemy can begin as a small group or even just one person.  As it gains more strength, the group can grow to see everyone who is different as an enemy -- and be strongly united by this ideology.  A leader cannot simply declare "if you're not with us, you're against us".  It only works to unite the body if the groups members believe it as truth.  The Jews.

Projection Devices.  Use of a scapegoat to emotionally bring home the otherwise vague threat of the common enemy.  This is a simplification of all of life's problems being the results of the common enemy's actions.  The Jews.

Inborn dignity.  The majority group feels bonded by deeming themselves superior.  To be effective, this device does not attempt to create new enemies but instead makes use of existing prejudices rooted in race, religion, etc.

Symbolic Rebirth.  Once the common enemy is eradicated, life will become a utopia.  It can only happen once in a lifetime.  All immoral actions that lead to this goal are justified and washed clean when the new world order is established.

Cognitive mapping.  "All roads lead to Rome" is a prime example of this language strategy that identifies inspiring ideology and strong leadership with a specific location.  Jerusalem, ahem.

Commercial Use.  This does not refer to rhetoric that is used commercially; this refers to commerce.  If an enemy were removed or changed (for example, capitalist America or our ally Israel), there would be no more economic hardships.

I played a trick on you, and I apologize.  This was not "some blogger".  This comes from rhetorician Kenneth Burke, from an essay about Hitler's Mein Kampf.  It was published in the summer of 1939.  Mein Kampf was available in the U.S. in 1933 but renewed interest arose when it was republished with a new translator years later.

Also of interest in 1938 was the Munich Agreement.  Three million Germans lived in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia.  Hitler wanted them the land.  Czechoslovakia wanted to keep the 1919 borders.  Losing that land meant losing a strategically defensive border, as well as a few banks.  France and Britain wanted to avoid war and tried to both appease Hitler and act as mediator.  All sorts of crazy things went back and forth, eventually ending with an agreement being signed by Germany, France, Britain, and Italy -- but not Czechoslovakia.  The new Czecho-Slovakia lost it's greatest defenses against Germany.  General opinion (at the time) was that throwing Czechoslovakia under the bus was a successful attempt to preserve lasting peace.  (Whew, that was hard to smash into one paragraph.  I hope the summarization process didn't bastardize the facts too much.)

Back in America, many book reviewers did not take Mein Kampf -- and by extension, its author -- seriously.  They dismissed the text as vile, inflammatory, the words of a man man, delusional, insane.  Several dismissed it as the "Nazi Koran".  Silly boys.  You learn the most about people by listening to what they say.  Burke agreed, saying that Hitler had put "his cards on the table", adding, "Let us, then, for God's Sake, examine them.  This book is the well of Nazi magic; crude magic, but effective.  A people trained in pragmatism should want to inspect this magic."  He didn't want to lift up Mein Kampf, nor did he want to hide potential insights by focusing on venom.  He also critiqued those who cashed in on the text by showering it with insults to be part of popular opinion about Hitler.  People enjoyed making him into a caricature, and some reviewers complied with a caricature review.

Burke saw the most important part of Mein Kampf was that it displayed how Hitler was able to manipulate social consciousness for his purposes.  While some thought it was best studied to give indication of what Hitler would do next, Burke saw Hitler's inexplicable ability to unify the masses and sway public opinion as a study in masterminds that might, in discovering the how, one might see the signs to prevent a future Hitler nation from arising.

When one brings Hitler or Nazis into a conversation, it is common for the comparison itself to deligitimize the entire argument.  But Burke's notion does not fall flat here.  The parallel for which he is concerned is rhetoric, namely language usage.  Using a popular argument in my neck of the woods, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had been compared to Hitler because he, like Hitler, is attempting to weaken unions' power.  Taking a Burkean view, Walker is very unlike Hitler, because he has not used the persuasive and unifying language devices that Hitler did.  In other words, if you take a race car and a clunker and paint them both red, the ride is still going to be incredibly different.

The components of the message and the ends to which they are used... therein lies the meat.

The exact timing of when he wrote the article is unknown, but it is no later than March 1939, when he submitted it for publication.  It was published in July and by the end of the summer it was published in a book of critical essays.  He also prepared to present this paper at a peer conference, at which he urged people to apply critical thinking, asking people "to find all available ways of making the Hitlerite distortions of religion apparent."

On an unrelated note, when I was in grad school, a faculty member told a story about Kenneth Burke visiting the faculty.  Burke took a big swig of water.  It was a clear glass of clear liquid set out on a table for him.  He immediately spit it out.  It was water.  He had assumed it was vodka.

Back on topic, Hitler's propaganda and persuasion are now well-known.  The word "Hitler" has become a symbol of the effectiveness of his persuasion and the ends it accomplished.  Using "Hitler" or "Nazi" as a comparison immediately defines the argument as hyperbole.  There is the collective belief that this could never happen again.  We know better now.  We could never let it happen again.  Right?  We believe this to be true, but it is more accurate to say that we collectively wish it into being perceived as true.

Do we keep our eyes open?  Are we listening?  When presented with disturbing rhetoric, do we fall into the traps of vandalizing it, caricaturizing it, or redefine it in a more publicly acceptable light rather than critically analyzing the words presented and the magician's crude magic?

Language is the most powerful weapon on earth.  It has the power to unite a people to incredibly destructive ends.  At the time, we had no idea how destructive those ends were.  We know better now.  Right?

I find the "Kill the Jews!" rhetoric coming out of the Middle East to be disturbing and alarming.  I was even more alarmed when I saw how well the Middle East's message aligns with Nazi Germany, as analyzed by Kenneth Burke.  In general, I am numb to Nazi comparisons, not to mention that Hitler is not the only one who has utilized rhetorical devices to evil ends.  I am also waking up to the many similarities between the Middle East and Nazi Germany.  I hope I'm wrong, but I don't like what I see.

After all, they haven't been screaming for "liberty" or "freedom".  "Democracy", yes, but also "Kill the Jew."

The Glenn Beck Program, May 31 LIVEBLOG (Tues)

UPDATE: Check out the Shiny and Amazing RECAP of this episode, with more links than you could ever imagine PLUS a complete transcript of the show!

(It took me nearly an entire day (literally -- 24 hours with two hours of sleep) to put this baby together. To be fair, some of that was a learning curve. Regardless, it may take TIME to do this for all of his shows since January, which was my original goal. We'll see how it goes. Next up, I think I'm gonna try for June 1st and the Nazis...)

Don't worry. I will continue to do these liveblog things for the time being. I think. Probably.
The War Powers Resolution -- Prez needs Congress approval within 60 days of sending out troops.  Obama didn't do it
There are boots in the ground in Libya, in direct violation of UN stuff.

How much power will Obama grab?

Administration says that they believe they're in compliance but don't explain how.

Leftys point out other past bad behavior to legitimize the current bad behavior.


It is stunning to me that the priseden'ts power and power grabs are going unchecked, especially since this is the anti-war president and the anti-war left.  When does the war in Libya end?  What does success look like?

Nasty situation ahead.  Congress is shrugging.  The country is asleep.  tuned out, unplugged.  Approaching TROUBLE -- worst 120 days since the cuban missile crisis -- the world is in edge.  Tonight, tape from radicals in their own words.  (This will be difficult to transcribe.  Subtitles, talking fast.  Spelling new names.)

This is something Beck laid out in February.

Chalkboard.  This is your neighborhood.  Houses on fire.  (Not yours.)  One neighbor says "it's fiiiinne", another suggests you get some water.  Who do you listen to?  What if you find out that the first neighbor wants to redevelop your neighborhood (and would benefit from your house burning down)?

Why isn't the world getting water?

Who is preparing you for what is ahead?  Who is preparing you for Just Another Election?  Are you going to be listening to the dolts who covered the Arab Spring like it was New Years Eve?  Listen to someone who is telling you to get your house in order, especially if you know their track record.

How is this show successful?  (Beck says.)  No show has ever been successful doing one hour monologues. 34 seconds is supposed to be the limit.  Millions watch every night.  Why?  They know the record (with accuracy).  When shit goes to hell and your neighborhood is on fire, hoopefully a sane person will tether to sanity.

Take 6.  Caliphate chalkboard.
work together against israel, capitalism, to overturn stability
protests will become contagious
clip of feb 7 show when he first talked this.  (me: man, i remember that day.  it was intense.  and MSM, especially MSNBC skewered him for it.)

Here's the problem, no one was talking about Israel back then.

New video Beck just got, taped in February.  A Socialist group.  Speaking 2 weeks after the uprisings.  "Internationalism is the key word.  Student movement.  Can push students in Europe.  What is happening in our region is a global movement.  We are putting an end to the capitalist system. We have to push for this rervolution.  The threat is not the muslim Brotherhood, it is [other groups]. Work with them, because the common objective is the fall of the regime.  But as soon as the political interests split, us too.

It is a Socialist conference, talking about working with Muslimn radicals "separately but together".  The common interest, the destruction of the Wetern way of life.

This isn't rocket science.  It is opportunism.  It's called real life.  To achieve their goals, they want to crumble capitolism.

How do you get these groups to stand together?  they have nothing in common...
back to the clip: COMMON ENEMY.  ISRAEL.

Beck clip from Feb 3.
"Groups from extreme Muslim, Socialists will work together against Israel"

They actually believe they'll win, in the end, the Socialists.  clip: "What's happening is good for the hwole world, threatening the capitalist system, liberating the world.  EWvery step forward is a step forward for Palestine.  In Cairo last week, they were chanting that they would go until the liberation of Palestine."

I thought the students wanted democracy.  Not the organizers.

Look at pics from tahrir square.  the palestinian flag.  and there it is in greece, and in scotland.  it's almost like radicals everywhere are uniting against the common enemy of israel and the united states.

it's not enough to be against something.  you have to be for something.  OBL did the first.  new group has the key.  the plight of the opressed.  they will scoop up the students.  reimage themselves as MLK.  madison avenue trick.

Beck shows some picks of civil rights movement compared to now.  MLK never screamed "kill the jew".  (Me: reporter who was assaulted...)

it doesn't take a genius to see which direction the guns are being aimed.  they will flood israel borders, force them to act out, and then flood world with pictures of injured, dead by israel's hands.

wem ust link our arms and be a force for good and not for israel.


I need to sit in silence for a minute.
here's a page with the clip of the socialist guy.  and some history, too (beck show history)


 Radical left & radical islam is organizing this.  They believe the free market system and capitolist left are oppressing the world.  A new flotilla is being put together with the help of Bill Ayers, and lady, founder of the Weather UNderground.  Bernadine Dorn

New video.  tech glitch.  will get posted on about us govt oppressing her and her influence on the Arab Spring.  The GA helped fund this, tax dollars help fund GA.

clip of bernadine dorn from back in the day.

reads from a pieve of paper, a manifesto

creating 2, 3, and many vietnams.  to mobilize the struggle so sharply and in so many places that they cannot defeat it all.  they will try and be defeated in the process.

does libya make sense now?

if we allow the world community to buy this garbage -- that israel is the problem, not the syrians or saudis or etc -- if we sit silently, we lose the western way of life in the middle east and thus the western way of life.  enemies emboldened.

the ancient battle of good vs evil.  the ancient battle of "kill the jew".  something about silence against evil is evil.

tomorrow: the nazi roots of the muslim brotherhood

this shit freaks me out.  when beck first talked about the muslim brotherhood in egypt, i agreed with his reasoning that they could be involved (rather than it being a spontaneous uprising), but i thought there was someone/thing else pulling the strings behind the muslim brotherhood.  that had a larger purpose connected to a much scarier situation.  jesus fucking christ, this is stunning.

Over the next few days, he's asking we DVR and share this show with a friend.  He's trying to show evil unmasked and now it's all come down to this.  here, now.

clip of children's shows teaching muslim extremist indoctrination.


Can you imagine if ANYTHING like that was on TV here, teaching us to hate Muslims?  Why is being perceived differently when it's happening elsewhere against us?

A few weeks ago, when he was in Israel, dedicated to remembering 6 million jews who died there during the holocast.  something else stuck out to him -- the trees planted there to honor the righteous of the nation.  the average citizens who risked their lives to hide jews.

Beck tells story of jewish family who spent 14 months in a sewer.  a catholic saw them, brought them food.  Thursday, the 8 yr old girl from that family will be on the show.

With the tech we have now, millions could die in the blink of an eye.  We have to strive for righteousness.  Pick people who want to be like, and put their pics up around your home, office.  Serve as a daily reminder of who you want to emulate.  Beck's gonna tell us about some of his in the coming days.

Commit to the person you were meant to be, not the person you've allowed yourself to become.  Restore your courage.  Become the righteous among nations.


As an atheist, I've come to a point where I can translate Beck's more religious messages so that they make sense in my world, life.  What irks me is when he has messages that are not directly religious, such as Commit to the person you were meant to be, not the person you've allowed yourself to become.  Restore your courage.  Become the righteous among nations...  Beck haters see the possibility for dismissing this message, perhaps due to the possibility of a religious interpretation.  But what is so bad about encouraging people to be their personal best?  And, to wit: who on TV delivers POSITIVE messages like this?  Simon Cowel?  Yeah, Beck's stuff sometimes scares me, but in a difficult time in my life, he's also helped me to look within myself from strength.  A cultist leader would want me to find strength from him.  He wants me to find strength from ME.

How is that bad?


*sarcasm warning*
I have good news for you!  Reuters warned on Wednesday about "a possible collapse of the US dollar.  Such a situation would imperil a the global financial situation."  Hey, Obama said he's awesome and it's never happen.  So why is Reuters trying to ruin him...

Speaking of financial chaos, Europe is on fire.  While the rest of the world plays political games (Arab Spring, readying for 2012 election), there's shit going on elsewhere. (me: watch the other hand)


I love Beck's sarcasm, mostly because he's earned that shit.  He gets laughed at for saying things months before the "investigative reporters" figure out what the hell is going on.  That'd be fine -- if they ever gave him credit later.  La la la, I'm Rachel Maddow, la la Beck who?

I really wish I had air conditioning.  Yes, I know, the last thing to care about with Nazis on the horizon.  Man, I wonder if the next world war

Democratic showers bring millitary leading flowers...
There is a relative calm after -- something...  Barcelona is not alone! Since 15 May, protesters of a mixture of ideologies have flooded the square feeling used by politicians and not represented by them.

Sound like stuff happening here?  Hmm..

Athens.  10,000s protewsting, assemble in front of parliament, chanting <hhhh>  missed it.  i think it was "shame", but that cannot be right.  happening in Spain, too.

Direct message to D.C.: Arab spring --> Euro summer --> American fall.  please, get yourself out, ready.  stand with the constitution.  be ready.

We are americans.  we are unique.  we don't behave like those in the european streets, unless there is no one to lead us out. you must lead clearly and peacefully.  you must pave a new path.  one that is, dare I say it, rooted in our principles, our constitution.

If you're looking for a revolutionary example, try less Che, more Sam Adams

Preview of the week. wed:  roots of muslim brotherhood in the nazi party.  history that no one else will show you.  thurs: people who have survivors of horrible stuffs.

From New York, Good Night, America.

It's such a shame Soros is shoving him off the air.  He's so good.

I''m reminded of Kenneth Burke.
Hmm.  Perhaps a new post is warranted for that...

whole show:

Greta Blogs About Palin...

... and she doesn't know much.  She did, however, have this to say:
If you think about it, she is free to do whatever she wants….bus ride, no bus ride.   It is those of us in the media who are seeking her out (and by watching all in the media, it is intense….otherwise why would everyone be talking about her?)
 Run, Sarah!  Run!

The Call at Gettysberg

Who said it?

The Call at Gettysburg

May 31, 2011
When I first visited Gettysburg years ago, I was overwhelmed with the sense of sacrifice made to secure our union, but my most recent visit this morning was even more significant as subsequent visits allow reflection on the state of our union today. Striking to me is how ready and willing troops and civilians were in 1863 to lay their lives on the line. Are we as ready and willing to accept the call for sacrifice today in order to keep our union secure?

Hopefully the kids on school field trips whom we met this morning grasped the poignant irony at the site we toured together: that such a beautiful stretch of the Pennsylvania countryside should have been the site of the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. But perhaps it’s fitting that such a sacred place should be so beautiful now in order to commemorate the terrible sacrifices made to bring about, in the words of Lincoln’s famous address, "a new birth of freedom."

But this "new birth of freedom" wasn’t fully realized by the generation that paid the price for it. Over 100 years after the battle, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and declared, "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." It took the struggle for Civil Rights to truly complete what Lincoln called "the unfinished work" for which the heroes of Gettysburg "gave the last full measure of devotion."

Today, when we speak of "fundamentally restoring all that is good in America," we remember the debt of gratitude we owe to those who sacrificed to create and preserve our union. From the Civil War to the struggle for Civil Rights, generations of Americans have made great sacrifices necessary to pass on to us this great gift of freedom. It’s our duty to them to preserve it, cherish it, and pass it on to our children, so "that these dead shall not have died in vain…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

When duty calls, are we willing to answer today? Please remember that freedom isn't free - the price paid for our liberty has been great.

The reminders of the past costs are seen at Gettysburg. The way forward in protecting our unified body is encapsulated in Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address: "...with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."

Kloppenberg Concedes!


Neener neener.

That is all.

Texas School Eating Your Tax Dollars

We're in a recession.  Everyone's tightening their belts.  Debt permeates most political discussions.  So what does Texas do?  Create a TWO MILLION dollar program in which cameras are installed in a school to monitor what children eat.

Do you know what else Texas has 2 million of?  Children living in poverty.

I'm not even gonna broach the Orwellian argument.  Or how this information could be used to screw your health insurance.  Or how it's schools' jobs to educate our youth, not ensure life-long health.  Or how fifty years ago, kids went off-campus for lunch, and the world didn't explode.

Let's just look at the basics here.  The school wants data about kids' diets, and they plan to use said data to create healthy program bullshit.  The camera system is linked to lunch trays.  Lunch trays on which school employees put food.  You go through the line, you get your food.  If you brown bag it (if this is a school that still allows you to opt out of paying the school to feed you), you don't get a tray.  So they aren't really getting a sample of what the kids are eating.  Just what school food they are eating.

Which brings me to my second point.  The school gives the kids food.  THE SCHOOL ALREADY KNOWS WHAT THE KIDS ARE EATING.  What, is there some other cafeteria service that is functioning in the school who refuses to release this data?

Sure, you can't know everything that's eaten/not-eaten, not down to the gram.  But a few pairs of eyes taking notes about what's being thrown in the garbage could give you decent numbers for this incredible Important Study.

You could also redirect that money to food banks and other programs that have to do with food being eaten, not monitoring food that's being thrown away.  Or, at the very least, buy each of those two million dollars a hot pocket.  Hey, you'll be able to know what they had for lunch that day!

29 May 2011

Libertarians Rock the Boat

Interesting article from Jan 2010: The Libertarian Vote in the Age of Obama.
Libertarian — or fiscally conservative, socially liberal — voters are often torn between their aversions to the Republicans' social conservatism and the Democrats' fiscal irresponsibility. Yet libertarians rarely factor into pundits' and pollsters' analyses.
According to this article, Libertarians swung back and forth in such a manner that, if the trend continues
Democrats will lose 2010 midterm elections they would otherwise win.
Time for the numbers.  14% of the voters are Libertarian.  Obviously 14% do not vote Libertarian, and the article doesn't mention which ones lean which ways.  More numbers.  A 2009 Gallup poll showed 23% had libertarian views.  A Zogby poll found that 59% consider themselves socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and 44% agreed that the term libertarian was applicable.

Who's kooky and on the fringe now?

Libertarians voted 71/27 for McCain.  He had good money sense and never talked about social issues.  Also, the idea of Democrats controlling Congress and POTUS was scary.  Younger Libertarians were more supportive of Obama, which really does make sense.  I'd be very interested to know how those people feel about him now.

Abortion is the social issue that splits most Libertarians when they have to pick R or D.  I find that mind-boggling.  On the surface, sure, of course pro-choice people would have a difficult time voting for a pro-life candidate...  But you cannot have fiscal conservatism with a big govt, and those are central tenants to Libertarian philosophy.  Libertarians who vote Democrat are saying that a woman's right to choose is more important than the country's fiscal future.  Yeah, it kicks me in the gut when I have to support pro-lifers (and so I try and do my part at the grassroots level to move the cause forward), but I just can't prioritize one social issue over the entire country's finances.  Who's gonna care about abortion rights when we're broke and hospitals start declaring bankruptcy?
Few of the voters we describe as libertarian identify themselves as such. But the Ron Paul campaign and the burgeoning opposition to President Obama's big-government agenda suggest that small-government voters may be easier to organize than they have been in the past.
I wish the TEA Party could be the new Libertarian party.  In many ways it is, but the social issues weigh us down.  I wish people could take their religion out of their politics.  I wish, I wish.  I suppose it's something that the TEA Party puts fiscal issues first, and the social issues aren't part of the platform.  It's small, but it's something.

Palin's Magical Mystery Tour

Sarah Palin's taking a tour through New England, and the media is abuzz...
click to enlarge
Where is she going?  

Palin ain't tellin'.

Her website has dubbed this her One Nation tour.  There is little information about tour dates/stops on the website, and even New Hampshire learned about her upcoming visit (detail unknown) through the press.  According to Politico, when the NH Republican party tried to find out details about the visit, "Palin's staff wouldn't even return their calls, leaving them to ask reporters for more answers."  Palin's staff, by the way, is incredibly small in comparison to conventional expectations and looks something like this:
Who could blame her?  Whether or not you believe the MSM hates her, you must acknowledge that Sarah Palin's name brings in record readers and viewers.  Palin does not trust the MSM, and, by extension, it would make sense that by now Palin would learn to choose her secret-keepers very wisely.  People love to hate her, and the pressure to sell her secrets, however small or insignificant, must be large.

She obviously wants to control the media's story about her tour.  She likes that they don't know what she's up to.  She likes that she gets to control the show.  She likes that, for once, the MSM is flocking to her to discover amoral truths (compared to digging up dirt).  Is this whole tour an Andy Kaufman style finger to the MSM?  Perhaps.  It certainly will be enjoyable to watch the press stumble over each other to find out clues as to what she's doing, when and where she'll, land, and, most importantly, why??

I'm reminded of Madison's Budget Bill protest rallies in February/March.  There were people gathering every day of the week, but Saturdays were the big days.  Friday nights, gossip would flicker through Facebook and Twitter: I heard Palin is coming!  Is Palin coming?  Palin's coming! Do you think Palin is really coming?

The mere mention of the possibility of her coming was tweet-worthy.  With various celebrities, from Jesse Jackson to Michael Moore, showing up to support the protesters, it seemed that the most important appearance would be Palin showing up to support the Republican establishment. 

Palin finally appeared in Madison for the TEA Party's annual Tax Day rally.  Her "Fight Like a Girl" speech was streamed live online, and hundreds of thousands watched.  And the protesters ate it up.
Here's what some people saw that day:

But here's what I saw as I stood in the snow, surrounded by protesters sporting noisemakers and hate.  (You can even see me in the crowd at 0:33.)

The protesters out numbered the TEA Partyers.  The TEA Party was there for their annual event.  The protesters were there in an "Our House" oppositional rally, the title meaning that the Capitol "belonged" to them (and not to Wisconsin's TEA Partyers).  They called, "Come one, come all, hear the call to... DUMP TEA! DUMP PALIN!"

That's some strong hate, y'all.

The protesters may have outnumbered the TEA Partyers, but it's Madison, WI.  I would have been surprised if they didn't.  This rally, in particular, highlighted a few things about Palin.  She knew the tense political climate when she came to Madison; she knew what she was getting into and did not back down from the fight.  She used the negative crowd as a platform to get hundreds of thousands to hear her speech.  The protesters gave her that gift.  Just mention the name Palin, and people will show up.

And that is precisely why the Politico quote has captured my attention.
Palin's staff wouldn't even return their calls, leaving them to ask reporters for more answers.

Palin's getting even smarter about how to manipulate the MSM to do her dirty work for her.  Her Madison speech, for example, got a lot of buzz because the protesters made it controversial; however, she had to share the spotlight with the protesters.  In addition, one of the messages the press reported was that America loves to hate Palin.  Nevermind the thousand or so TEA Partyers who withstood April snow and being surrounded by angry haters.  It was the two thousand haters that got the attention.  Palin had no control over media promotions and coverage of the event, but now she does.

Palin has been critiqued for not using more conventional, traditional methods of reaching out to the people during this early period of presidential fever.  She hasn't shaken hands in Iowa.  She hasn't reached out to the people.  But she's not like the rest of them.  She CAN'T shake hands in Iowa.  She's too big of a personality to publicize small scale stuff.  The only way to do it?  Incognito.  She can't tell the press, because then they would tell the world.

She also can't tell the press, because they would then own the story.  As is, she'll make small stops here and there, and the news coverage will be equally distributed between local reporters who arrive after the fact, pro-Palin tweeters and bloggers, and Palin's own footage.  She can control the story.

Palin is entering dangerous territory, too.  She doesn't need to win the hearts and minds of Iowa or South Carolina.  They already love her.  The one thing standing between her and the GOP nomination is people's fears about those who hate her.  So she's jumping into the lion's den and driving her One Nation tour through New England's politically rocky terrain.  Can she woo Suzie Workingmom from Connecticut?  I have no frickin' clue.  But it takes balls to try.

As for Palin's relationship with establishment GOP groups, she's not even returning their calls.  She doesn't even trust them  And why should she, when she's been burned by them in the past.  Her political and social views fall in the spectrum on the GOP, making her a party member by default, but her work in Alaska shows her favoring the actual people above the political machines.

Sarah Palin's magical mystery tour shows her working outside of beltway politics.  Her unconventional campaign shows her ingenuity and fiscal responsibility.  Her desire to put the mission above the media shows her dedication.  Her knowledge of the media machine and ability to not only out-maneuver it but also use it for her own benefit shows her understanding of public perception -- both controlling it and its importance, in general.

Everything about these early steps in her campaign shows that she has the qualities GOP voters are looking for.  She doesn't just say it, she lives it.  No wonder liberals hate her.  The big question, though, is why so many hate her -- and whether or not she'll be able to change New England's mind.

At the very least, her One Nation campaign does offer an undeniable benefit to the Republicans.  Any time the media hops onto a liberal meme (such as the it's-funny-because-it's-what-the-Democrats'-plan-will-do Mediscare commercial), Palin can come out from the shadows, cause a media stir, and swallow the liberal attempts to control public perception, and she does all this just by being seen in public.

That's power.

ADDED: I hit an emotional slump last night, due in part to researching people's online reactions to Palin.  Reading the intense feelings she brings out (both adoration and disgust) became difficult to handle, and I decided that I needed to take a few days off from the Palin Fervor, to preserve my emotional sanity.  But even I couldn't resist talking about her tour.  And this, folks, is only the beginning.

Size Matters

The taller candidate tends to win presidential elections.  This could bode well for Romney or Pawlenty (both reportedly 6'2" or taller, compared to Obama at 6'1").

How would height affect a female candidate's chances?  Would a six foot tall woman appear stronger... or too strong?  Would a short woman emphasize cultural worries about paternal vs. maternal presidential instincts?

I long for the day that we have a woman in the oval office.  I don't think I'll ever see it happen, but I do long for it.  I do not long for the likely onslaught of "presidential tampon" humor.

28 May 2011


Reading far-Right and far-Left blogs & blog comments all day.
Result: anxiety attack; general feeling of listless dread; lack of faith in humanity, country, future
No desire to leave the house ever again

Ed Schultz is a Talk Slut

Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a talk slut.  He was attempting to point out perceived hypocrisy; Ed Schultz claimed she criticized Obama for drinkin' beer overseas but praised Reagan for the same actions.  (Note: according to Wikipedia, Laura Ingraham's media career began in the late 1990s, a decade after Reagan left office.)
Here's what Laura Ingraham said
“I do think of the disconnect and maybe the tone-deafness, if you will, of that devastation from Missouri. Heart-breaking pictures and then President Obama lifting the glass of Guinness. There’s something about that, that I think hits people in the gut. . . . Maybe the Irish part of the trip could have been put off to another day.”
Talk Slut, indeed!!
Ed Schultz promptly offered an apology in which he offered to take himself off-air for an indefinite amount of time.  He is "deeply sorry" for using "vile and inappropriate language" (emphasis added).  He "recognizes the severity of what he said."  He wants to take "full responsibility" for what he said.  He says he talked to his sons "about character, about dignity, and about the truth. And I tell you the truth tonight that I am deeply sorry."  He spends four minutes apologizing to any and everyone.  "I know that I have let a lot of people down."   (For full text of his apology, scroll down.)

My favorite: "The only way that I can prove my sincerity to you is to never use those words again."
Because, see, it's all about the WORDS he used, not the meaning behind them.  Bad Ed, Bad Boy!  You called her a slut!  "Slut" is a dirty word!  "Slut" is a disrespectful word!
What is a slut?  Generally, people use this word to describe a woman who is sexually promiscuous, who rejects monogamous standards of morality, and whose identity is based on her sexual activity.  The term has negative connotations.  The term is used to describe women, and feminist theory often discusses the lack of a masculine counterpart.  ("Why are women called sluts while men are called studs?") highlights this issue with its #1 rated "slut" definition: "a woman with the morals of a man".    
But Ed qualified his insult.  He called her a TALK slut.
What is a talk slut?  Only Ed can know for certain, but I'll take a stab at it.  A regular slut's slutty actions are sexual.  A talk slut's slutty actions are verbal.  So a talk slut is loose with their words, rejects the customary code of polite behavior in society, and has an identity based on their bombastic musings.  A slut-slut will sleep with anyone.  A talk-slut will say anything.
During his four minute apology, Ed Schultz never once apologizes for the meaning of his words.  He never says that he does NOT think that Laura Ingraham is a talk slut.  He spends the majority of the time taking "full responsibility" for something he presumably still believes to be true.  Sounds like a talk slut to me.  He may vow to never use those words again, but that won't stop him from accusing women of doing the exact same thing upon which he has built his career.
Ed Schultz made it clear in his statement that he spoke with his sons about the truth, and the truth is that "I am deeply sorry."  The truth is not that Laura Ingraham isn't a talk slut.  The truth is that he's sorry.  The words he chose were wrong, but he apparently stands behind the message.  Not once does he make a statement about Laura Ingraham's integrity, smarts, etc.  We're supposed to be bowled over by him addressing his words, and he's hoping we just ignore their meanings.  Ain't that sweet?
It reminds me of the old joke about a student who asks his professor, "Can you penalize me for what I think?" to which the professors says no.  The student then says, "Professor, I think you're an ass."
The feminist argument about Schultz's rhetoric, of course, is that he first criticized a general "they", and when he wanted to find a specific target to criticize, he chose a woman.  He used the word slut, because it's the go-to word to define a woman in a negative light.  I'm sure MSNBC loves seeing sexism blatantly on display on their network, and Ed Schultz would have fared much better if he had somehow addressed this subject directly in his apology.  Instead, he went on and on about being sorry yet never really said what he was sorry about.  (It makes one wonder if he is sorry at all, but that doesn't really matter.)  Again, he's not sorry for relying upon sexism to prop up bullying rhetoric.  He's not sorry for the underlying sentiments and mindset related to his choice of target and his choice of words...  He's just sorry for using that word.  

On May 25th, Laura Ingraham tweeted, "MSNBC suspends Ed Schultz.  Oh great, now his ratings will go up."
Compare that to Ed Schultz's babbling apology.  Who looks like more of a talk slut to you?

---text of Ed's Apology---
Good evening, Americans and welcome to The Ed Show from New York tonight. Thomas Roberts will be here tonight anchoring the program, but first I want to take some time to offer an apology. On my radio show yesterday I used vile and inappropriate language when talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.

It doesn't matter what the circumstances were. It doesn't matter that it was on radio and I was ad-libbing. None of that matters. None of that matters. What matters is what I said was terribly vile and not of the standards that I or any other person should adhere to. I want all of you to know tonight that I did call Laura Ingraham today and did not make contact with her and I will apologize to her as I did in the message that I left her today.
I also met with management here at MSNBC, and understanding the severity of the situation and what I said on the radio and how it reflected terribly on this company, I have offered to take myself off the air for an indefinite period of time with no pay. I want to apologize to Laura Ingraham. I want to apologize to my family, my wife. I have embarrassed my family. I have embarrassed this company.
And I have been in this business since 1978, and I have made a lot of mistakes. This is the lowest of low for me. I stand before you tonight in front of this camera in this studio in an environment that I absolutely love. I love working here. I love communicating with all of you on the radio and the communication that I have with you when I go out and do town hall meetings and meet the people that actually watch. I stand before you tonight to take full responsibility for what I said and how I said it, and I am deeply sorry.
My wife is a wonderful woman. We have a wonderful family. And with six kids and eight grandkids, I try to set an example. In this moment, I have failed. And I want you to know that I talked to my sons especially about character and about dignity and about the truth. And I tell you the truth tonight that I am deeply sorry and I tell them every day that they have to live up to standards if they want to be a successful human being in life. And I have let them down. I have never been in this position before to the point where it has affected so many people. And I know that I have let a lot of people down.
To the staff here at MSNBC, I apologize for embarrassing the company and the only way that I can really make restitution for you is to give you a guarantee, and the only way that I can prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again. Tonight, you have my word that I won't. Laura Ingraham, I am sorry. Very sorry. I'll be back with you in the coming days. 

ADDED: Ingraham accepted Schultz's apology.

CBS Cashes in on Palin

In the article Ups, downs for White House of a Palin Candidacy, CBS notes that while Palin is "quite unpopular" among independents, "her entrance into the race would create a lot of interest in the Republican field".  So, Palin isn't worthy of the WH herself, but since the MSM flocks to her, she could make other GOP candidates look more appealing than Obama.

Yes, there is a constant media buzz around Palin.  The MSM fails to recognize that their buzz provides her with the platform to reverse people's opinions about her.  America indeed seems to be fascinated by Mama Grizzly, for better or worse.  Is it so impossible to think that she might -- MIGHT -- be able to use that platform to transform public opinion?

The rest of the article mentions other candidates, using Palin as a launchpad.  The "downs [for the WH]" of a Palin pre-nomination candidacy is that it draws attention to Pawlenty, Romney, Bachmann...  

If Palin is not a real threat to the Democrats and Obama, why does CBS spend so much time focusing on her in this article which clearly explains that she doesn't have a chance?

What is it about Sarah Palin that makes her so fascinating yet so polarizing?  Why does the media continue to give her press if they think she is, ultimately, not worthy of serious attention?  

27 May 2011

The Glenn Beck Program, May 27 LIVEBLOG

It's a Friday show.  Usually these are soft.  We'll see.
(I type while I watch.  It's messy.  It's part of a bigger project that may or may not pan out.  If you think it's lame, don't read it.)
I'm on a weird Pro Palin kick, and I sorta want to just read about her instead of watching Beck today.  Oh well. On a similar note, I don't think I'm gonna make it to the R Convention next summer.  I want the real race to start NOW.  All of the talking about who might run and who could or couldn't win is killin' me.  I need to read up and find out if/when the deadline is for announcing that you're running.  I betcha $100 that Palin announces one day prior.


Hello America.  Welcome to a special edition.  He's sitting with the Founding Father's pic behind him.  Mentions some early America data, women would vote, blacks were judges, etc.

Clips of reactions too old series.  Old way of teaching history = deconstructionism, teach the negatives.  Now clips of old FF shows.  IS THIS A CLIP SHOW??

Women of theRevolution show -- what took many by surprise -- that women could vote.  (I knew that!)  States gave women voting rights.  Property ownership = right to vote, so that's how they got it.  Most women were voting Federalist.  Anti-Federalists wiped them out when they had the power to do so.  Also surprising, some women served in military.  Shows pic of an Eowyn.  Another one, Molly Pitcher.  At the end, she was commmissioned as a ,<rank>, given military funeral.

Black FFs -- Slavery was there, but also in elected office, millitary leaders.  Battle of bunker hill painting = bunch of white guys.  unless you know where to look.  points to Peter Salem, a black guy, who was the hero of the battle (doesn't look it in the painting).  Battle of lexington pic.  Rev Jonas Clark church, called together boys, said "let's go! defend our town!"  it was a mixed church, equal # black/white.  not shown in painting.  washington crossing delaware -- there are black guys.  prince whippple.  marquis de lafayette.  black guy standing next to him, this guy is james armisted.  he was a double spy, may have won the war.

The point isn't so much that this stuff happened, but that we are intentionally NOT teaching this information to people.  WHY?

First black judge.  He was the other guy riding with Paul Revere.  (wentworth chessil?  southern accent saying the name, didn't catch it.)  Rev Haynes (Haimes?) first black preacher.  ina white church.  ordained 1785. first black to receive masteters degree.  first black speaker of the house early on (didn't catch year).  paintinng of influentioal black men.

Relationship of Founder w AfAmericans?  N/S different.  But the Founders, the ones who put it together, came from a world that we don't understand.  We're striving to get back to it.  Shows obits of blackmen from back in the day.  High praises in these obits.

It's not to say that slavery & Jim Crow didn't happen.  We got taught that in school.  But we didn't teach the good stuff.  And so many other things.  Jews in the revolution.  8 yr old boys (like John Q Adams) fighting in the war.  (Jesus, can you imagine?)


Okay, he summed up the four shows that were the most Aha! (2 on women, 2 on African Americans).  Mostly clips.  Makes me wish he'd put out a DVD of Founding Fathers Fridays. Anyways, does this mean he was laying the base, and the rest of the show will talk about other stuff?

Taking yesterday as a cue, is this a way to talk about focusing on the good and bringing that back (rather than teaching sleg-hatred of the country via history?).

It's like Beck wants to make it okay to have American pride.  Okay to be patriotic.  Show that patriotism isn't just for racist hicks.

Much of the African American early history in America really shakes the narrative we teach.  A shame we don't use that..

The first war on terror.  This is round two on war on T.  We actually sent ships to the same in 1700s, up until 1816, for 32 years we fought muslim terrorism.  Madison dedicated 60% of budget to this.


Kicked off the Series w Sam Adams, (more clip show.  gah.). In "Faith, Hope, Charity", he's faith.  Brits called him Father of the Revolution.  They destroyed him.  Beck says he had amazing faith in god.  beck quotes an Adams speech.  You look crazy, don't show it to the public.  "They eyes of the people are upon us."  Don't show it to the people or we're done for.  Ira Stoll wrote Samuel Adams, a life.  He's why Adams is "Faith".  Stoll says Adams really thought God was on our side, like the Jews/Israel.  The Brits called him the puppetmaster.  These guys all defended religion.  You can be as religious as you want; you can be whatever religion you want.  "There is no America as it is today without Samual Adams".

next: Hope.  "You're watching the GB special on FFFs.  More in a second
So... it IS a clip show.  I am disappointed by this.  At least, Sam Adams was the only one I caught last summer when he did these, so I'm enjoying seeing the goods.
I am so fucking sick of this Shirley Temple commerical.  I hate Media Matters for killing Beck's commercial support with their thuggery and forced boycotts.

newsbreak: last astronauts to do a spacewalk ever.  i think it's so fucked up that nasa's done.  certainly says something about the state of the country.


People are hungry for their ownb history, just they're hungry for the Constituion.  Mention of yummy Federalist papers.

HOPE: George Washington is Truth.  Beck's favorite.  known as The Indespensible Man.  everyone was bickering, stuff was falling apart.  here's washington.  all he wanted to do was go to mt vernon and be a farmer.  his country had him serve for year after year...  they cam knocking at his door.  "we need you, the whole thing is falling apart." "have i not yet done enough for my country?"  most of the choices he made, he didn't want to do.  he was revered for it.  they knew that in the end, he didn't matter to him, doing the right thing.

Comparison to Obama's "hope".  There is no figure in the history of this nation that represents hope more than Washington, says guest.  We have writers today who say Founders were deists/atheists, but Founders esp Washington said this country was created because of the intervention of God.  (intervention?  did I catch the right word?)  "It was god who used us to do this."  No evidence that he feared death.  He was afraid that he wasn't up to the tasik, didn't have what America needed.  He sucked at being general at first.  He grew into it.

Could someone like Washington be in office today?  the two guests say no.  Think someone is looking for someone like Washington to lead us, to fix the country.  He was unanimously elected time and again, even though he never wanted it.  BUt there was something in him.  When we started, we were divided.  But only one man is the Father of our Country.  No presidents come close to the role he played (right guy, right time).

next, charity!  Franklin!  And then, life after Founding Fridays.
I was always taught --always, relentlessly -- that the founders were deists.  (especially franklin).  this is collegiate education.  i was taught in rhetoric classes that the common language was to include God.  (Thomas Paine, once glorified, ended up being hated for not including God stuff in his writings for the French Revolution.  he had included God in the american writings.)  I can't not trust and believe my collegiate mentors.  I can't help but consider that it could be wrong.  It's very confusing.  I'm able to question the "truths" I learned as a child.  It's harder to questions the stuff I learned as an adult.

Ben Franklin.  First foreign embassador, first spy, inventer, (list of other awesome stuff).  CHARITY.
Kite, on the money.  Franklin created the nation's first hospital.  PA didn't want to do it. Ben said "if i raise half, will you match it?"  Assembly took the bet, because they didn't think he could do it.  That hospital is still operating today.  Also started first library.  Started first volunteer fire company.  Organized first militia (10,000 members).  Join or Die -- the broken snake.  That was him.  1754.  The French are stepping up to drive us into the sea.  Indian raids.  Militia system isn't enough.  Franklin's publishing the most important paper.  Starts circuolating the idea of an American militia/army (working w brits).  he started debates, arguments, got the discussion going.  then, in june, a conference with leaders of colonies.  a month before, Frankin published the snake.  based on a french myth that they all knew.  snake parts can rejoin after death.

next: most influential guy, so how come no one knows who he is?
I'm trying to be a smartypants and guess who it is.  All I can think of is Thomas Paine, but how do people not know who Thomas Paine is?  I wonder if he's really a buried gem or a lesser known that Beck likes.  I wonder if I know him.  I wonder if my knowing him -- or not -- will make me trust the information more/less. (I'm smart if I know him?  Beck didn't surprise me and is less smart if I know him?  etc)

There wouldn't be a revolution without... George Whitfield.


He was the most known guy then.  Instigator of the Great Awakening.  Michael Jackson.  Strained relationship w most preachers (Church of England) who didn't really care about the poor.  His message here, he was overtly involved in crisis between brit and colonies.  1764, came to here and said "there's trouble coming"  said "there is a deep laid plot against your civil and religious liberties, your golden days are at an end, my heart bleeds for you."  When franklin testifies about stamp act, something about whitfield.  He was true patriot, not just in words but in actions.

Beck: The Founding Fathers series may have come to an end, but now it's your turn.
Oh yeah!  I remember this guy!  (linked to wiki, above.)  He really was the Beatles.  Tens of thousands gathered to hear him.  His voice was super loud.  Then people would pass back what he was saying to the people behind them, and again and again...

There's still good ways to get good history.  Look at the bibliography.  Look for books citing original sources.  Go see it, too.  (Thinkin about Palin's current speaking tour, where she stops at meaningful spots.)
David Barton (wall builders), that's the guy who's been making a lot of comments.

Beck: Thank you.  Respect Memorial Day weekend, but remember what it's all about.  Then men and women in our armed forces.

Me: What a wonderful start to Memorial Day Weekend.

God is a Doorknob, part 3

I didn't really consider Beck again -- in general, at all -- until January.  Egyptians were rioting in the streets.  I was stunned and obsessed.  I started to watch the news all day long.  I work at home, and I like to keep the TV on as background noise.  At first I flipped around to different channels, getting different people's takes on things.  I ended up on Fox more than anything else.  And at 4:00, I ended up watching Beck.

With Egypt, it seems that Beck hit a reset button of sorts.  He talked about the daily news, but he also talked about it in terms of what it meant to the web of alliances in the Middle East, which meant he talked about history.  That's when I found out that much of Beck's show is teaching history in light of and as it relates to the most current events.

I had never had a strong understanding of politics in the Middle East.  I knew the basics, I knew enough, and I didn't really care beyond that.  They have oil, they hate us, sometimes they try to kill us, and they're all of the way over there.  Beck helped to teach history, but he also helped provide a framework for me to then learn more on my own.  Tackling the Middle East is a daunting research project, but Beck broke it into manageable pieces and provided me with tools to finally research and learn about the complex issues and history of the region.

While I was studying on my own, I was also devouring news about current events, and there still seemed to be something missing that all other media sources were neglecting to highlight.  I've studied rhetoric at the undergrad and graduate level, and in social movement theory, social movements have leaders.

Who was leading the riots in Egypt?

Yes, yes.  I know.  It was the wonder of social media that allowed the protests to magically unfold.  But someone sent that first tweet.  Someone had some kind of foresight.  Some must have a plan.  

Worse, if the unicorn-glitter-magick of social media really was the only instigating force, then there would be no leader to continue the work once the regime fell... and all of those hopeful people, drunk on democracy, would be at the mercy of any crafty leader who would want to exploit them for personal gain.

Beck saw that.  I think that's when I fell for him.  When Beck drew out the infamous map in which he showed that, in a worst case scenario of the entire world falling apart, Russia might control Australia, I fell for him.  I remember Rachel Maddow skewering him for that map, and I understand how it appears ludicrous.  Any full extension of a worst case scenario looks ludicrous, but his basic sentiments were spot on: something's missing from these protests, we should not be so quick to praise them without critical analysis, the horizon may not be pretty.

And, whatcha know, he was right.

to be continued.
(I've written this section while sleepy, so I hope I captured it right.  An edit may be needed.)

God is a Doorknob, part 2

I didn't really consider Beck again -- in general, at all -- until January.  Egyptians were rioting in the streets.  I was stunned and obsessed.  I started to watch the news all day long.  I work at home, and I like to keep the TV on as background noise.  At first I flipped around to different channels, getting different people's takes on things.  I ended up on Fox more than anything else.  And at 4:00, I ended up watching Beck.

With Tunisia, it seems that Beck hit a reset button of sorts.  He talked about the daily news, but he also talked about it in terms of what it meant to the web of alliances in the Middle East, which meant he talked about history.  That's when I found out that much of Beck's show is teaching history in light of and as it relates to the most current events.

I had never had a strong understanding of politics in the Middle East.  I knew the basics, I knew enough, and I didn't really care beyond that.  They have oil, they hate us, sometimes they try to kill us, and they're all of the way over there.  

Beck did the thing he does -- set up an argument, build, build, build, set a new argument...  But he started from a (somewhat) fresh base, and the stuff that wasn't fresh, he backed up to give a brief explanation.

I was not excited about the Egyptian rallies.  I found it intriguing, and it got my blood racing, but I was suspicious.  My collegiate studies in social movement theory taught me that something was missing from the equation.  Even with the addition of social media to the equation, some thing was missing.  

Beck named it for me.

It's not so much WHAT Beck named, it's that Beck saw it, too.  All of these different networks and talking heads were saying this and that and Ooh! Democracy!, but I definitely saw that something was missing.  Now, I'm not saying that I'm the smartest person in the world.  I'm not saying that I know more than those people on TV.  And I'm not saying that I'm right and they are wrong. 

I just didn't understand how my perspective wasn't even being discussed as a throwaway "those[insert name] crazies think BLAH".  

But there was one guy who named it.  Who named what was wrong.  Beck.

to be continued