Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glenn Beck, Chuck Norris, John Galt, and the Sussex County Organized Regiment

I shouldn't have to begin this post by establishing my bona fides, but my friends over at Delawareliberal are really freaked out by the latest incarnation of the survivalist and militia movements:

jason330: I’d laugh this stuff off if these guys were not so into guns.

a. price: lets hope not. we cant quiet down about the republican White Right Wing hate groups in this country…. we may have to defend our country against them.... i think some of these people are serious. Glen Beck is one of them, and he has a public forum. I am all about free speech and freedom of the press, but i consider Beck a danger to the safety of millions of Americans because he makes the nut-jobs feel ok and powerful. HE not Rush is the problem.

delawaredem: Look, we have always said over the last 8 years and even before that that the radical right had a lot in common with the Taliban. But the similarities we were talking about was their cultural backwardness and religious fanaticism. But then the leading Republican Congressman, Pete Sessions, said back in January that the Republicans must model their opposition on the insurgent tactics of the Taliban. And I suppose some of the fanatical followers in wingnuttia took that to mean they should form sleeper cells and begin military training for an eventual confrontation with that which they oppose.

At this point, anyone and everyone partaking in these sleeper cells are traitors to America. They are advocating and preparing for a violent overthrow of the federal government. They have already taken actions in furtherance of this conspiracy, and should be arrested and treated to the consequences of treason....

Indeed, when the right wing was last out of power in Washington, the more fanatical among them resorted to treason and terrorism. Timothy McVeigh and the OKC Bombing. Eric Rudolph and the Olympic Park Bombing and the numerous abortion clinic bombings. Ruby Ridge. David Koresh and Waco.

anonone: Funny how when America was spying on its own citizens, torturing people, and silencing dissent these people said nothing. But when a black liberal Democratic American is elected President by a landslide… Let’s see how many of Delaware’s wingnuts denounce these tactics.

So since we've already got folks crying Treason! and advocating mass arrests (although, I suppose, dd, that's an improvement on your previous position of standing them up against the wall to be shot), I'd like Mr. Peabody to first set the wayback machine for 29 November 2008, so that you can read what I wrote 3 1/2 months ago in There Will Not Be A Second American Civil War. I'm not going to excerpt it: go read the whole damn thing before you continue--and among other things realize that all of you are pretty late coming to this story.

Now, in the interests of national sanity, let's put together five strands and see if we can't either tie or untie this particular Gordian Knot:

Strand One: The Glenn Beck "We Surround You" campaign, which has been building on his talk show for at least a couple of months, for those of you who don't pay attention. What this amounts to is the new century's version of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, an attempt to conflate together a bunch of different social conservative groupings into something with major influence in the Old Confederacy and Buffalo Commons (Waldo's striking new name for the GOP). These are the people that Rsmitty left. And Falwell is the appropriate starting point for what Beck wants to do with the new Mormon Media Majority. In fact, there may be something to the old separated at birth idea:

Freaky, huh?

But the reality here is that Beck's Mormon Media Majority is pretty much a pathetic attempt boost ratings and make money (shit: it's more like Falwell's Moral Majority than I thought) rather than a real political movement. And all these people in the sleeper cells that my liberal friends are worried about are far more interested in the sleeper part of the designation than lockin' and loadin' to head out shoutin' Wolverines! to kill magical Commies.

Primarily, Beck is just jealous that Rush has mind-numbed robots and he doesn't..

Strand Two: Chuck Norris for President of Texas. You're taking this seriously? Yes, the man is delusional: he's thought for twenty-thirty years that he could act. Missing in Action should have been called Missing in Acting Class. Walker, Texas Ranger reruns could not garner a ratings point even if USA decided to go up against it with a David Hasselhoff marathon. Chuck is trying desperately, like most aging B-listers with a chain of struggling karate schools, to keep his image of the wild Texas desperado alive until he goes on life support. What he really wants to be is Ted Nugent, but Ted can actually sing. What he ends up being is Sonny Landham with a monotone and no verifiable history of working in porn movies.

Yeah, Chuck says inflammatory things, but who's listening? Does anybody who didn't get his driver's permit in the seventh grade actually read World Net Daily? People gotta have hobbies, and most of them are about as seriously into survivalist, secessionist violence as Cooter in Dukes of Hazzard. In fact, if you actually read the damn post carefully, almost all the inflammatory language about potential armed resistance comes from Beck being quoted by Norris, not Norris himself. You want to know what Norris really wants to happen? Then read the very last line of the post:

(Note: Speaking of showdowns, Chuck is also inviting anyone near the Houston area this weekend to see a good example of the raw Texas fighting spirit by joining him and others for the national martial arts event, "Showdown in H-Town.")

Yep: another good huckster out there selling faux badass rugged Texian in order to sell tickets to his damn karate tournament.

Strand Three: Going Galt--the obvious reference to Ayn Rand's heroic John Galt, who managed to bring the incompetent rulers of a future socialist America to their knees by refusing to be the productive man who supported all the drones. As you can see in the link, doing a John Galt is the new viral theme sweeping through parts of the blogosphere thanks primarily to Michelle Malkin and a lot of the usual suspects. Here's what the compiler [Steve Gordon, former Bob Barr right-hand man] said:

There’s a new craze hitting the conservative tubes on the Internets these days: “Going Galt!” While it’s difficult to identify an exact date of reference or to provide any unique person with credit for the general meme, Michelle Malkin and Helen Smith certainly deserve honorable mention for recently popularizing the phrase.

This movement seems to have manifested itself in two distinct, but related, forms: those who say, more-or-less, that “I ain’t gonna produce more that 249,999 dollars and 99 cents of taxable income” as well as those more accustomed to singing “Amazing Grace” than Twisted Sister taking to the streets across America chanting “we’re not gonna take it anymore.”

Well, fine. You want to go Galt, go ahead. But don't threaten, just do it. And since it is a completely non-violent strategy (which, frankly, either Gandhi or King might have adopted under certain circumstances), I think you can feel fairly safe that delawaredem won't want to lock you up for treason, and a. price won't feel obligated to defend the country from you.

Most of us fantasize that we contribute far more to society than we actually do. It's a variation on the old hysterical pseudo-suicide cry of, They'll miss me when I'm gone. The reality is that nobody of consequence is going to go Galt, certainly not enough to hide out in an unknown valley out west and bring the country to its knees. What people in the $250K and up tax brackets are going to do is send their money Galt by helping out the job situation among accountants, tax lawyers, and bankers in the Cayman Islands. The projections of how much revenue will be raised by taxing the wealthiest 2% of Americans will fall drastically short, because 6,000,000 people will ultimately come up with far more effective strategies for sheltering their wealth than the government will contrive to pursue it.

Strand Four: The Sussex County Community Organized Regiment. You're worried about this? These are the same folks who make really good scrapple and gin up cannons to fire overripe pumpkins as far as possible. They fix your plumbing, sell you cars, and want desperately to avoid the sinking feeling that the America they think they know is not disappearing. They are actually a part of the cultural diversity that my liberal friends say they value, but don't, not really. They aren't Timothy McVeigh, but they are, deep down, wondering if the FBI is not going to surround their own little Ruby Ridge and shoot up their children. The problem is that most of you would rather lampoon them, or fear them, or demonize them, than deal with them as American citizens with different political ideas.

Which brings us to....

Strand Five: Our friends who really, really need for the people who disagree with them not to be American citizens with different ideas that have to be won over, but wingnuts who have to be defeated. Oddly enough, they got this Manichean view of the political universe from ... Rush Limbaugh, and then adopted it as their own. Rush doesn't want compromise: he wants victory. The current party in power doesn't want compromise: it wants its agenda enacted (victory). Ironically, our liberal and progressive friends demonstrate their tin ear for what Americans are really saying, seeing, and hearing when they think that repeatedly posting about Mike Castle's Betrayal of Delaware is somehow going to have a political impact beyond the sound of their own heavy anticipatory breathing.

Get a grip, folks. America has always been an armed society; it's going to continue to be one. America has always been a potentially violent society--didn't you ever ask yourself where good old Sam Adams found the Sons of Liberty? He recruited them from the street gangs that already infested Boston in the mid-1700s. American will continue to be a potentially violent society--and I don't think the people killing each other in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Camden on a weekly basis are all GOP survivalists or militia wannabes. Just like I don't think the violent, misogynist lyrics of rap are the product of the Heritage Foundation.

Knock-out: USA vs Militia may make good escapist reading. Hell, I enjoyed Lucifer's Hammer and Farnham's Freehold [especially that last chapter with the big sign].

But like it says at the disclaimer entrance to most adult viewing sites on the Net: I can distinguish fantasy from reality, and so can 99.9% of my fellow Americans.

The ones who can't are a tiny minority of folks who are going to crack and kill some people every now and again (bluntly put), and discredit themselves and their ideology in the actions.

I am far more worried about the people who take Chuck Norris style bloviating for profit and attempt to stereotype everybody who disagrees with them as a danger to society.

[The final irony: this post will by and large manage to piss off all my friends: liberal, libertarian, and conservative alike. And I don't really give a damn.]


Waldo said...

I expect no less. As long as Mr Nixon infests these pages, Old Confederacy & Buffalo Commons Asshattery will prevail.

But Waldo is pleased to no end that TDL likes the OC&BCP moniker for the Republicans.

Bowly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hube said...

I'm not offended, Steve. And as usual, a thorough, excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Then again, maybe some level of concern is real:

Report: Slain US Nazi hated Obama, had parts for 'dirty bomb'

Trust fund millionaire James G. Cummings, an American Nazi sympathizer from Maine who was slain by his wife Amber in December, allegedly had the radioactive components necessary to construct a "dirty bomb," a newly released threat analysis report states.

The man, allegedly furious over the election of President Obama, purchased depleted uranium over the Internet from an American company.


Nobody is questioning Beck's right to say this stuff; what we are concerned about is the emotions that it is stirring.

And then today, another 20 people killed by lone gunmen in two separate incidents, though apparently not politically related.

When is it time to tone down the "Unite or Die" rhetoric?


pandora said...

I find it interesting that you go back to DD's comment. Obviously, his "words" disturbed you (and most of the DE blogosphere). Now, what if he hadn't apologized? What if he had ramped up his rhetoric? Started organizing meetings? Would that not concern you?

I'm not calling for Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris to be silenced. They have every right to say what they want. And while they may be stirring the pot in the name of their own self-interest there is no denying that they are tapping into a small, potentially dangerous sub group.

Most of the people attending these events aren't crazy. They're simply frustrated. I'm not worried about the many. I'm worried about the few who will take words such as "rise up," "he must be stopped," "end of America as we know it," etc. as a patriotic call of duty.

I have already experienced the backlash of this sort of talk. A man approached me in the parking lot of a grocery story, pointed to my Obama bumper sticker and said, "That n**ger isn't my President." He wasn't a big man, but I still felt intimidated. I also found the experience disturbingly brazen and personal.

It's also curious to find you writing a post dismissing the power of words. On one of my first posts at DL I wrote that Obama should appear on FOX, that he should talk to the enemy. You called me out for the use of the word, rightly so. (In fact, I actually consider your response when writing a post.)

So what's different now? Why are these words different than mine or DD's?

Brian Shields said...

I just wrote something on this very topic, overhearing a Walmart soldier and his dissatisfied rhetoric.

Odd how someone so pissed off at his government doesn't want to do anything about it unless everyone else does. Everyone wants to ride the bus, but noone wants to drive it.

There people are flocking to these motivators, jumping on their bus, doing nothing but complaining and following the crowd, and wonder why they stop at one buffet before another and never actually going where they need to the revolution that they were promised to go.

If anything, these Glenn Beck types are holding these sheep-like revolutionaries in a holding pattern, long enough to sell some mugs and t-shirts to the masses can identify other sheep like them. Maybe one or two will stray from the pack, but all they are doing is holding them in a state of disapproval and disdain for the present government in order to motivate them to the polls in 18 months.

Yes, somehow I see this as a midterm election strategy. It is a grassroots effort on the surface, but in reality, it's just another Fox News mainstream media mindf^&k to get the sheeple back in the voting booths to even out the Congress in 2010.

Nancy Willing said...

...Everyone wants to ride the bus, but noone wants to drive it.
There people are flocking to these motivators, jumping on their bus, doing nothing but complaining and following the crowd, and wonder...


- primed to act as a mob?

Tyler Nixon said...

I am certainly not offended either, Steve. Can't say I disagree with any of it.

I've written it before, I'll write it again...Beck's a wackjob.

Hey Waldo, you may want to ooze your way over to a site called "Delaware Liberal". They're much more your speed (pandora and liberalgeek being very glaring exceptions).

Steve Newton said...

The problem with dd is that he apologized, but he has not ramped down his own rhetoric. Calling for people who join Glenn Beck's little idiotic movement, or people who like Chuck Norris to be rounded up and tried for treason is every bit as over the top and un-American as anything going on in the so-called "right wing."

So I don't think it is inappropriate to remind people that even those who are catastrophizing themselves about all this have said incredibly stupid and hateful things.


That's just the point: you may not be questioning Beck's First Amendment rights, but there are a lot of people out there who are.

Yeah, we live a sometimes dangerous, violent country--what part of that didn't I acknowledge?

I frankly wonder if having substantial parts of the liberal/progressive movement underwritten by a man who made his fortune undermining the currencies of other nations is that much morally superior.

Anonymous said...

All I am asking when is it time to tone down the "Unite or They Will Kill Us" rhetoric.

I frankly wonder if having substantial parts of the liberal/progressive movement underwritten by a man who made his fortune undermining the currencies of other nations is that much morally superior.

Steve makes a funny! LOL!

Happy Rupert Murdoch's birthday to you, Steve!


pandora said...

Steve, I'm having trouble reconciling your claims. You have no trouble calling out DD, yet you seem to dismiss the "far right's" (why the quotes?) words as just silly talk.

Are all words not created equal? I'm serious, Steve. I've always known you to decimate this kind of language abuse. I just wish you were as quick to take Beck and Norris to the woodshed as you are with others - and I've been to your woodshed and have no desire to visit again! :-)

Tyler Nixon said...

I love the incessant equivalency-peddling...foreign billionaire meddler asshole Rupert Murdoch justifies foreign meddler billionaire asshole George Soros.

Makes it all nice and even, eh?

Anonymous said...

Maybe, Tyler. Maybe not.

But you gotta love the irony.

Anyway, why are they meddlers and you're not? They just have a different scale of resources and bigger bullhorns to work with than you or me.


Hube said...

pandora: Maybe it's b/c Steve -- like those on the right-of-center side of the aisle had to listen to you and the DLers -- like DD -- spew the sort of stuff that Beck, Norris and whoever else are now for the last eight freakin' years.

And as for DD, I seriously doubt you and the DLers would expect everyone to just forget about a right-winger saying (even if he apologized) something as ridiculously hateful and insidious as DD did. On the contrary, you'd be among the very first to remind everyone of it! Hell, someone like Trent Lott, who made a silly racially-tinged comment for Strom Thurmond's birthday was hassled endlessly until he stepped down from his leadership position. OK, yeah, he's in government, but his comments were light years less offensive than what DD said. DD advocated killing those with whom he merely disagreed!

It doesn't get much more insane than that, I'm afraid.

Tyler Nixon said...

I like DD personally, and he did 'atone' for his inflammatory remarks about killing Republicans.

However, did he do so because it was wrong, or because he was excoriated for it from various directions?

It's kind of like people who are not really sorry for what they did but rather sorry they got caught (or called out). I think it's human nature, and we're all guilty of it.

Nonetheless, Steve is right to note the (not necessarily outright) exterminationist rhetoric that persists unabated over at Delaware Liberal, to match that of their hated anti-liberal counterparts.

Hube said...

Good point(s), Tyler.

But you're comparing local bloggers to nationally known folks. Can anyone point to equally vicious rhetoric (akin to DD's) anywhere else in the DE blogosphere?

Steve Newton said...

Most of the nutcases I covered in this post are just that--nutcases far removed from the mainstream, reality, and any influence on the political process. They ought to be in Ripley's Believe It or Not, and the appropriate treatment for them is ridicule and not the panicked response I keep seeing in the blogosphere.

If you read the post I reference on There Will Be No Second American Civil War, then you know I do not condone political violence, real threats of violence, or exterminationist talk within mainstream politics. Most of these folks couldn't find the main stream with a compass and a canoe.

The commenters around the DE Blogosphere, however, who regularly throw around words like "treason," "sedition," or "racist" all share a common belief that they are becoming the new mainstream of Delaware and American politics.

To take a page from A1's innate ability to raise questions without any evidence to back them up:

1) I don't know that they aren't meeting in secret, because they're smart enough not to put up webpages to announce where to get my decoder ring

2) I'm a lot more afraid of the people who are competent at conspiracies than the ones who announce them on WorldNet Daily or figure out ways to buy worthless depleted uranium....

3) Why is it acceptable for liberals and progressives these days to use "over-the-top" hyperbole, but not for anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

To take a page from A1's innate ability to raise questions without any evidence to back them up

I didn't know I had this "innate ability." But, hey, thanks, I guess. (I'm trying to think of some examples, but I can't.)

Other than the infamous DD comment, I don't see where liberals and progressives are making threats of violence, veiled or otherwise, against politicians or conservative right wing groups. Perhaps, you could provide some examples? (Is this an example of using my innate ability?)

Oh, and can you think of the equivalent of Ann Coulter (who is openly wished for the killing of liberals) or Sean Hannity, who has equated liberals with being terrorists?


Hube said...

A1: Ever visited the Democratic Underground?

Most recently at DL, a certain person running for the Cape School Board was posting there -- a guy who had wished a slow, agonizing death upon Ronald Reagan b/c he felt the Gipper "didn't do enough" about AIDS.

And, not by any means am I a Coulter or Hannity fan, but can you provide evidence that those two did what you said? Keith Olbermann and, say, Bill Maher don't compare?

Tyler Nixon said...

Oh, and can you think of the equivalent of Ann Coulter (who is openly wished for the killing of liberals) or Sean Hannity, who has equated liberals with being terrorists?

On and on and on in the quest for equivalencies.

Tit for tat, this for that, fundamentally-immmature to the hilt.

I just can't fathom how a person can take nearly any political, philosophical, moral or otherwise relevant issue and dumb it down to some cosmic shifting game of personality ping pong.

Then if you try to rebut it, even just to show what superficial bipolar idiocy it is, you end up dragged right into the petty back-and-forth.

My advice : don't bother. It's like trying to bend some cold plate glass around your head.

pandora said...

"I just can't fathom how a person can take nearly any political, philosophical, moral or otherwise relevant issue and dumb it down to some cosmic shifting game of personality ping pong."

Agreed, Tyler. Which is why I'm done with this thread. There was an issue on the table, but since I'm one of those DLers my points aren't worthy of being addressed by some. Honestly, it's tiresome.

Steve, I owe you a response. Basically I think we're in agreement. We just view this situation in varying degrees. To you, they're nutcases who should be mocked, and to me, they're nutcases who should be mocked and called out by responsible voices in both parties. Not silenced, called out.

Anonymous said...


Coulter: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

"Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism" by Sean Hannity

I don't visit Democratic Underground, but they aren't best-selling left-wing spokespeople, now are they?


Is bending some cold plate glass around your head something you've tried?


Hube said...

A1: Thanks. I had heard that Coulter one before. I agree it's heinous. Just one reason I turn the channel if she's on.

The Hannity comparison, however, is reaching. He doesn't compare liberalism to terrorism -- the title just states there are ways to defeat each. Nice try, though. (I wouldn't be surprised, however, if you could find some juicy Hannity quotes.)

You're right about the DU; however, that was just off the top of my head. Air America personalities come to mind this time, as well as numerous Hollywood types. But Tyler's point at 11:16 comes to mind. He's right.

Tyler Nixon said...

There was an issue on the table, but since I'm one of those DLers my points aren't worthy of being addressed by some.

Pan, I am not sure if you mean me but I always exclude you (and geek) from culpability for the harsh tenor and tone towards differing opinions at your blog.

Obviously you conduct yourself much differently, even though you are just as steadfast in your beliefs.

I always sincerely appreciate your coming by to offer your comments.

Tyler Nixon said...

I don't which sickens me more : that Coulter claims to speak for conservatives or that she claims to be a Deadhead.

She brings ill repute to both and is nothing but a shrill antagonistic opportunitist.

Hube said...

Pan probably is referring to me, among others, Tyler. Unfortunately, 'tho at times she seems reasonable and easy going, the next instant she's absolving her fellow DLers for the most ridiculous of statements. Just the other day when Instapundit happened to link to my calling Jason out for his inference that 10th Amendment resolutions passed by various states (linked to by Dave Burris) were the actions of "domestic terrorist wannabes." Jason's indignity of my post was totally expected (how DARE Hube link to a post of mine that makes such a preposterous reference!), but there was pan -- wondering "if Hube would like us to link HIM to some of the vile comments they were getting" as a result of the new traffic.

A double whammy: I was somehow a "liar" in making the post; then I was "responsible" for the comments of those coming in from Insty's link. Nice.

Oh, and speaking of DelDem, he's at it again today. Here too. And again, the right is the Taliban.

Hube said...

But that's just me. I wouldn't be a member of group blog whose members made such asinine statements continually (obviously, Tyler was correct in his earlier comment about DelDem being "sorry" only 'cuz he got caught and called out on his "death to all GOPers"), or if I was in charge of the operation, would I allow such.

I asked earlier -- is there another blog in DE that is regularly like DL? And why is it that so many have refused to participate there in the comments anymore?

The answers are obvious to many -- many except the ones who need to recognize the obviousness.

Anonymous said...

she claims to be a Deadhead.

OH NO! Why did you have to tell me that?


vote anti-incumbant said...

heres a simple fact-park your car with an 'impeach bush' bumper sticker=no problem, park your car with an 'impeach obama' bumper sticker=your car will be vandalized. not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

I know that I am posting anonymously, but hell half my heros did that when they were trying to stop that damn piece of legislature from passing that gave us this current situation. They had names like Centinal, Brutus, Federal Farmer, and hell I'll add mine Marsh Fox. My bona fides are on Mr. Newton's computer and I am sure he will vouch for me, he'll figure out in a minute who I am and then he'll understand. Pandora, I feel sorry for you, those people you fear in Sussex County, see they won't do anything to anyone unless you and President Obama want to declare martial law and station federal troops there to keep the piece. That was tried once, didn't go so well, seems even the Govenor's son went and joind the Rebs over that. Anyway, they just want to be left alone, you don't bother them and they won't bother you. They beleiev in a freedom that you can never understand and until the Articles of Confederation are put back in place they will never really get it. Steve, word of caution, you underestimate the dislike those poor chicken farmers in the lower county have for those people up north. Your a transplant, but I was born and raised there, trust me if they keep getting agendas pushed on them, things will get ugly. Pandora, one more thing, Steve is a true patriot, he's not always easy to agree with, but you had best listen to him, he has a better grasp on history than you and your freinds do. You may want to read the Anti-federalist papers, you'll see then where I am coming from and why those in Sussex County feel the way they do.