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!