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Tuesday News: Samantha Bee and Glenn Beck (WTF???); GOP Electors Shockingly...

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by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, December 20. Also, check out Samantha Bee sitting down...

When Even Glenn Beck Says the Right Wing Is Going Too...

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When even Glenn Beck is screaming, at the top of his (very large capacity (e.g., loud) lungs that the right has gone to far,...

Staunton’s News Leader “Political Cartoon”

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This was published last Saturday in a Gannett newspaper right here in Virginia. A search for it online has yielded no success. The mother paper, USA Today, does not proudly include it in the cartoon gallery. There is no attribution. Even harder to find is any succinct message. Can you?
"We are being led by a dog eating communist." - Glenn Beck

Someone mentioned this cartoon Saturday afternoon. No success finding it online, but a trip to the library located an issue. It appears the campaign of character assassination is raging at the local as well as the national level. The target is the person, not the policies. It relies on perceptions that have been crafted weaving threads of misinformation into a shroud of whole cloth over the past three years. American politics has an ugly history. It is about to get a much uglier future.

If We Wait For the DPVA, We Lose

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Our faith in Virginians and Americans should be renewed by the results of the elections yesterday. The wave of popular fear may be ebbing. Though the Virginia outcome could be better, our progressive ship is not on the shoals. However, we cannot stand idle while the DPVA finds its voice.

Elaine and her commenters have outlined many positive aspects of elections across America yesterday. There are other indicators that the Republicans and the Tea Party have overplayed their hands. Anecdotally, phone bank volunteers in campaigns noted that they often heard complaints about the tone of calls from the other side and the over-the-top rhetoric. And there is a trend back toward discussions of local issues away from the divisive and sometimes irrelevant national debate.

Until this fall, Sinclair Communications in the Norfolk market featured two all day, all night, wall-to-wall radio talk-fests featuring almost exclusive drum beating for "conservative ideas." But a few weeks ago one station, was completely transformed and the other broadly reformatted. Gone are Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz (both completely from the market), and others. One former talk-radio station is now Funny 850, almost exclusively comedy with some time for sports shows smattered here and there. On the other station, WNIS, local talk programming has been expanded from a low of 3 hours daily to 6. Based upon the volume of callers, it appears a successful venture. The much hailed "free market" seems to have discounted appeals to fear, hate, and loathing.

Right now is the time to be pressing our case hard, making our voices heard across Virginia. But there is no DPVA strategy to develop, maintain, and reinforce a message; to call out the Virginia Republicans for their obfuscation and downright fabricated accomplishments (see Bob McDonnell); to remind us and everyone what we stand for. The frustration expressed by Peter Rousselot is commonly held; just look at the comments to his diary. For some time there has been no consistent message or spokesperson at all. So it is important that we speak out here and wherever we can until the DPVA regains a voice and begins to represent Virginia Democrats rather than Virginia Democratic office holders.  

The Right’s George Costanza Problem

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As the sirens of the right go out in a howl of fury and defensiveness, it's becoming clear that the likes of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck have a more self-destructive streak than that for which we've given them credit. In a weird way, it's starting to remind me of the nine-season saga of "Seinfeld"'s George Costanza.  

George, early in pretty much every episode, would get caught in some sort of lie, mistake, exaggeration, or otherwise embarrassing situation.  But that wasn't really the problem. The problem was that he would inevitably double down on his nonsense, invest in it as if it were a blue-chip stock, and carry it to the bitter end until it all blew up in his face.

We seem to be nearing the end of the movement about nothing that is the story of Palin and her ensemble cast. And like George - as usual - they are doubling down on their mistakes and thereby making them that much worse.  You can tell the episode is going to be over soon when the joke starts to be on them.

Yes, Sarah and company would be wise to duck their heads for a while, mutter some words of calm and condolence and talk peacefully about something else, anything really.  But no.  For these folks, now's the time to circle the wagons, escalate the attack, inflame the rhetoric to the "towering inferno" setting.

Krugman: Climate of Hate

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When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

Put me in the latter category. I've had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign.

So begins Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Krugman in his op ed this morning, Climate of Hate

Why mention his award? Because as an economist he is used to examining the data and seeing the patterns. And on this the patterns are crystal clear.

Read his column.  It is as well written as usual, which makes it hard to excerpt.

I will explore aspects of it, and offer thoughts of my own.

Tea Partiers Fear America and Its Progressive Promise

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What is even more irritating than my generation blowing the promise of the American experiment is our heirs neither objecting nor even caring enough to call us on it. Worse, as Christopher Hitchens alleges in a Vanity Fair piece, Tea Partiers are being suckered into active participation in the scam.

Much credit to a fellow boomer, Glenn Beck, replacing hope, dreams, and aspirations with fear, nightmares, and consternations. The flames are stoked by using reliable bogeymen:

"Millions of Americans are currently worried about two things that are, in their minds, emotionally related. The first of these is the prospect that white people will no longer be the majority in this country, and the second is that the United States will be just one among many world powers." - Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens points out a potential alliance, once a dream of liberals, forged into a nightmare. Black Americans are concerned that "Hispanic" immigration will exclude them. Imagine: whites and blacks locking arms (the dream part) to discriminate against Hispanics (the nightmare part). Enough to make one shed a tear for the liberal dream. Yes, the liberal dream; all those founding fathers, to the very last one, were damnable liberals.  

New Left Media Goes to Glenn Beck’s Rally

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To quote New Left Media:
While the speaker list was diverse, the overwhelmingly white crowd expressed paranoid and conspiratorial fears of multiculturalism-that atheists or black liberation theologists or radical Muslims or "free-loading" Latinos were going to ruin our country. There was the constant suggestion that white Christians and their way of life are somehow under assault, and that the attendees of this rally were here to put an end to it and return the country to what it used to be.
Utter ignorance and insanity. The question is, how does the New Left Media interviewer (Chase Whiteside) manage to not completely lose his mind talking to these people? Impressive.

UPDATE: It looks like New Left Media has the right wing hacks Tucker Carlson, former Dick Cheney staffer Neil Patel, and The Daily Caller worried. Good work, New Left Media, keep it up!

250,000 vs. 87,000

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Courtesy of Charles Lemos at MyDD, here are two photos of the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool area of the National Mall. The first photo is from August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, attended by approximately 250,000 people.

Now, compare to August 28, 2010.  As Charles Lemos says, "In 1963, 0.0013228 percent of the US population was present to hear Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech. At Beckamania just 0.000281 percent of the US population came to hear the ramblings of a certifiable pair of morons." That would be 87,000 (overwhelmingly white) people to hear Glenn Beck, as estimated by independent/private outfit AirPhotosLive.com (the right wingnuts are throwing around "numbers" as high as 2 million, which of course is as delusional as their political philosophy). So, MLK had 3 times the people - and a much more diverse crowd, as well - attending his rally at a time when the U.S. population was just 189 million (compared to about 310 million in 2010).  Yesterday was a beautiful day, couldn't ask for better weather in Washington, DC, so that's certainly not why attendance was such a dud. Heck, the inaugural concert for Barack Obama's inauguration, held on January 18, 2009, had 400,000 attendees in the dead of winter, with temperatures in the 20s.  So, maybe yesterday's Beck/Palin attendance "fail" has more to do with the (deeply flawed) messengers and the (incoherent, angry) message they're delivering?

h/t: MyDD

UPDATE: The Washington Post utterly fails again, describing Beck's rally as "a sea of activists" and "an enormous crowd."  Uh, sorry, but 87,000 people isn't "a sea" or "enormous." It's a low-medium-sized rally on the Mall, much smaller than the Million Man March (400,000), the pro-immigration-reform "March for America" (200,000), the pro-choice "March for Women's Lives" (500,000-1.1 million), an anti-war demonstration on January 18, 2003 (100,000-200,000), the March on Washington for Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation (300,000), and many others. So, if Beck's rally was "enormous," what were these other rallies?  Super ginormous?  LOL

UPDATE #2: Excellent article by Robert McCartney, explaining how the Beck and Palin fans' "apocalyptic views hinder constructive political debate".

Coffee Party Founders: “Glenn Beck’s rally is a corporate-sponsored ragtime show”

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Coffee Party founders Annabel Park and Eric Byler weigh in on Glenn Beck's rally tomorrow (which DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen calls "blatantly political"), on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic "I have a dream" speech.
Martin Luther King's march was called the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." While so many of us are immensely distracted by Mr. Beck and other wedge issues of the day, Rome burns. If we continue to follow Pied Pipers who want to see our country fight itself rather than come together to solve our problems, what problems can we expect to solve?  We are headed for a deep economic depression if We the People fail to show our leaders that we want solutions not distractions.  To do that we must lead by example.

In short: Glenn Beck's rally is a corporate-sponsored ragtime show. An unfortunate distraction in tough times when we should be pulling together.

Over the past decade, millions of Amerians have been shoved into poverty, with no safety nets and no healthcare. And what are we doing about it? We are dividing and arguing over race. That is Dr. King's dream gone wrong. That is the American dream gone wrong.

The game that Mr. Beck plays is so obvious, isn't it? He prances and dances around the line of what is responsible, what is inappropriate, and, yes, even what may be "racist."  His hope is that the entire nation will notice, that some will condemn him, and others will defend him.  If so, he becomes the center of attention, his ratings go up, and his devout followers are thrilled to have another reason to be angry at the rest of the country.  I don't see any winners in this game other than Mr. Beck and his corporate sponsors.

That about sums it up. Except for one thing: if you want to get involved with a productive, constructive movement of your fellow citizens trying to make this country a better place for all of us, check out the video, "Coffee Vote 2010: a Call for Active Citizenship", embedded above. Thanks.