11 April, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

The rabid right has gotten so rabid they're driving some conservatives sane:
Long-time readers may recall that for about two years, I edited the "Blog Report" for Salon.com. Every day, I'd feature a couple of dozen posts from the left and right, summarizing what was on the minds of many bloggers. After a couple of years, I more or less created informal categories for the various conservative bloggers -- ranging from "thoughtful" to "borderline dangerous," with most somewhere in between.

What I didn't expect was to see Charles Johnson's "Little Green Footballs" emerge as a reform-minded blog for the right.

Yesterday, for example, LGF posted a YouTube clip filmed at a gathering of Glenn Beck fans.

At a "Project 912 Glenn Beck Tea Party," an unnamed speaker rants about "infiltration by the Communist Party" (a John Birch Society talking point), says that digital cable boxes are "brainwashing machines" planted in our homes by the government, and swears to stop paying taxes.... This is some really deranged stuff, and the audience is eating it up.

This did not, as John Cole noted, go over well with some of Johnson's fellow conservative bloggers. (John added, "The problem for the right is not Charles Johnson, but all the crazy people in the party.")

But what's especially interesting is that LGF has had a variety of similar items of late. Earlier this week, Johnson wrote, "This turn toward the extreme right on the part of Fox News is troubling, and will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP -- unless people start behaving like adults instead of angry kids throwing tantrums and ranting about conspiracies and revolution."


After having read Little Green Footballs over the years, I didn't expect it to be one of the sites urging conservatives to pull back from the fringes and be more responsible. It's a pleasant surprise.

That's pretty damned impressive. Then again, Charles Johnson has been known to spank the rabid right before, so I doubt we get to mark this as a sea-change. Unless, of course, other conservative bloggers start following him into dirty fucking hippiedom....

The way Glenn Beck's going, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see some Cons shocked into sanity:

Yesterday's Glenn Beck show on Fox News will probably go down as some kind of benchmark for broadcast insanity. The entire hour was devoted to exploring Beck's thesis that America is marching headlong into fascism. I'll have more on that later today.

But the most otherworldly moment came when Beck, near the end, introduced a segment featuring an actor supposedly playing Thomas Paine -- but Paine reading Glenn Beck's words. Um, OK. We've gotten accustomed to the incoherent and bizarre in Beck's shows, so we played along after a bizarre, rambling introduction about Paine being his great-great-grandfather.

The entire rant was disturbing by any reading, especially since it was essentially a call for an uprising against the Obama administration, via next week's "Tea Parties". But there was a really odd note early on:

In an unprecedented moment of citizen response not seen since December 7, 1941, millions of your fellow Americans will bring their anger and determination into the streets.

Eh? Not since Pearl Harbor Day? But really, he's not saying that the Obama stimulus plan is like Pearl Harbor, is he?


Your complacency will only aid and abet our national suicide. Remember, they wouldn't dare bomb Pearl Harbor, but they did. They wouldn't dare drive two planes into the World Trade Center, but they did. They wouldn't dare pilot a plane through the most sophisticated air defenses in the world and crash into the Pentagon, but they did. They wouldn't dare pass the largest spending bill in history, in open defiance of the will of the people*, but they did!

OK, I think it's safe to say that Glenn Beck has now jumped an entire mountain of sharks, waterskiing atop a pyramid with Pinky Tuscadero and the gang.

And the craziest thing about this: Beck will find a way to top himself next week.

*[Um, not exactly.]

Apologies for filching that entire post, but it there was just too much crazy to cut. This man has a bizarre idea what the will of the people is. Apparently, if overwhelming majorities support Obama's economic policy, that's not "the will of the people." Which makes perfect sense when you realize that when Glenn Beck says "the will of the people," he really means "my will."

Nothing like a psychotic narcissist on national teevee, eh?

In other news, a teabagger wants to know what proof Jane Hamsher has for the assertation that Faux News is sponsoring their little tea parties. Well, first, there's little clues like this:

Then there's subtle hints like this:

As ThinkProgress and others have pointed out, the Fox News Channel has staked out its position as the “voice of opposition” to the Obama administration by aggressively promoting the radical anti-Obama “tea party” protests set for April 15. Fox News hosts like Neil Cavuto claim that they are only broadcasting live from the events in order to “cover” them. But as Media Matters’ Karl Frisch pointed out in his column yesterday, Cavuto’s colleague, Glenn Beck, announced on his radio show this week that he is raising money for the protests as well:

Beck isn’t just helping with turnout. Discussing his participation in the upcoming protest at the Alamo in San Antonio on his syndicated radio program, Beck announced, “I’m going to do a fundraiser for them” to help defray costs. “So you can come and you can have lunch with me. … I don’t know any of the details, but I’ve heard it’s like $500 a plate or something like that.”

Looks like sponsorship to me.

In the meantime, the Cons are calling for yet another amendment to the Constitution. Wait'll you see what this one's about:
Conservative leaders in Congress, led in part by Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), apparently have a new constitutional amendment they'd like to see ratified. It has something to do with the United Nations and spanking.

Hoekstra last week introduced a bill in the House to amend the U.S. Constitution to permanently "enshrine" in American society an inviolable set of parents' rights. The bill had 70 co-sponsors, all Republicans, including Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Minority Leader John A. Boehner.

The bill, said Hoekstra, is intended to stem the "slow erosion" of parents' rights and to circumvent the effects of a United Nations treaty he believes "clearly undermines parental rights in the United States."

The treaty to which he refers is the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a 20-year-old document signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995 but never ratified. The treaty sets international standards for government obligations to children in areas that range from protection from abuse and exploitation to ensuring a child's right to free expression.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child isn't, or at least shouldn't be, especially controversial. In fact, there are a grand total of two countries in the U.N. that have not ratified the treaty -- Somalia and the United States. Both President Obama and Ambassador Susan Rice have stated publicly they'd like to see this change.

But this, in turn, has only encouraged far-right Republican lawmakers and their allies to push a new constitutional amendment to protect "parental rights" from protections for children. One GOP activist, Michael Farris, who helped craft Hoekstra's proposed constitutional amendment, said the right of parents to "administer reasonable spankings to their children" must be protected.

That's right. They want spanking to be enshrined as a Constitutional right. Add this one to the list of their previous Constitutional amendment proposals:
1. An amendment to prevent same-sex marriage.

2. An amendment to protect the dollar from being replaced by some evil global currency.

3. The ever-popular Balanced Budget Amendment.

4. An amendment to prevent flag-burning.

5. An amendment to eviscerate Roe v. Wade.

6. An amendment for school prayer.

7. A Victim's Rights amendment.
Now, spanking. Aside from the silliness of such a thing, Steve Benen makes a good point: "Aren't conservatives supposed to support conserving our constitutional traditions? Granted, none of these amendments are going anywhere, but this push to treat the Constitution as a rough draft strikes me as odd."

Maybe that's why Glenn Beck's become so popular lately. He makes the actual Con politicians look less batshit fucking insane in comparison. Sadly for them, I don't think that tactic will work for long. Not with the exponential increases in insanity we've been seeing lately.

If Charles Johnson intends to keep calling them out for their fuckery, he's got an endless task before him.

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