Archive for the ‘right wing’ tag
Far right wing fringe candidates may be gaining influence in Europe, and that is good news for no one, except the crazies of course. It’s definitely bad news for poor people, women and immigrants … and blue collar workers … and sick people.
Here is an article on one of the far-right leaders, Marine Le Pen, president of France’s National Front party.
I didn’t think it would take long for one of our numerous obscurantist presidential candidates to make some silly claim about the recent earthquake on the East Coast. Michele Bachmann doesn’t disappoint. Here’s a quote from Bachmann via the St. Petersburg Times:
I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.
Bachmann subsequently brushed the comment off as a joke, as politicians are apt at doing when they get called out for making ridiculous statements. She said on Monday that
If you take everything that a person says as straightforward you misunderstand the intent. So of course I was being humorous when I said that because the American people have tried very hard to get the president to pay attention; he is not listening. And that was really the message that I was trying to give in those comments. So it was a great deal of humor; it would be absurd to think that it was anything other.
I think that’s a curious rebuttal. So, if we take everything the biblical writers say, for instance, as straightforward, as evangelicals urge us to do, are we misunderstanding the intent? I guess so. Well, that settles it then. We can take everything written in the Old Testament about arks and animals being rounded in two-by-two (or was it seven-by-seven?) as laugh-out-loud funny.
I have to admit, Christian Broadcasting Network spokesman David Brody was spot on with his assessment of Bachmann’s particular brand of fringe-right craziness from the same St. Petersburg story:
What Michele Bachmann’s campaign strategy seems to be is to make sure she’s not seen as an extreme candidate and for her not to just appeal to the Tea Party and evangelicals, but also independents. So when she comes out and jokes around like this — her campaign is saying it’s a joke — it does play into the stereotype that’s out there. That’s a danger zone for her, but at the same time she is what she is, so it’s hard for her to rein in at times.
Following is a fascinating look at IQ and politics from the 2004 presidential race between George W. Bush and John Kerry.
Pardon the overlap of the “Nevada” row. That was a Macromedia faux pas on my part.
Here is a statement from the website in which I just sourced:
The purpose of this webpage is to provide better state IQ data than what had been available – not politics. These IQ’s follow elementary school test results. The most likely reason for the lower IQ’s in southern states is the high proportion of Blacks in those states. African-Americans consistently test at an average 85 IQ level. Since Blacks overwhelmingly vote Democrat, it is difficult to find an IQ-political spin in the chart above. Also on southern states a viewer has provided government data on mental retardation rates being higher there. See also government data on state minority percentages, in response to a professor’s reaction to this paragraph. Also see Gallup/ CNN data showing that Bush got the vote of a majority of college grads.
Another viewer has weighted the above results by population, producing a definite increased IQ/ Democrat correlation. A different viewer has analyzed the same results by looking at the actual percent Rep/Dem voting results in each state, and he concludes from his colorful charts that. “the IQ trendline is agnostic about the candidate.” Perhaps all this is evidence that statistics can be massaged to produce a variety of conclusions! The best voter IQ picture may be from an analysis including population and voting by ethnic groups.
We don’t have to study this chart long to realize the breakdown between IQ in Democrat-voting states versus red states. Indeed, unlearned types like Mark Levin, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and others currently choking talk radio fuel the frenzy of irrational, backward-thinking notions on a daily basis, and to put it mildly, the right does not have erudition on its side. Those who are among the right’s inteligencia are in the minority. They may actually have some salvageable ideas, but again, they are drowned out by the screaming masses, when, in the lack of anything intelligible to add to the public discourse, rant to a fevered pitch, which, is understandable, since, when reason and logic fail, it’s their one and only defense.
So, out of sheer boredom and mostly for entertainment value, I watched about five minutes of Glenn Beck on FOX News tonight, for that’s about all I could stomach and, coincidentally, it only took Beck that long to begin quivering over some rags to riches tale of a fellow who was about to oust himself by overdosing on sleeping pills when, wouldn’t ya know, as he was walking into the drug store, the guy heard over the radio a quote from one of Beck’s books, The Christmas Sweater (available in fine bookstores everywhere).
According to a letter read from the man to Beck that he read on the air, the man immediately fell on his knees in tears and vowed to pull himself up and get his life together. He had fallen into drugs, lost his job, started living with his economically disadvantaged mother, you know the bit. First, and this isn’t what I sat down to write about (I’m getting to that in a minute), how egomaniacal does one have to be to shill your own book, of which he’s apparently performing some sort of stage show across the nation, at the expense of some poor sap’s tale of ascension, as if to say, “Sure, this man’s story is all about redemption, and that’s what the Christmas season is all about, but look who inspired him to turn things around? Me.” Also, Beck, most humbly, didn’t fail to mention that he plays eight different characters by himself. Viewers also saw clips from the production during this five minute segment. How many more self-advertisements viewers were forced to suffer through during the entire show is anyone’s guess. But, no matter. They probably think, ‘The more Beck the better’.”
The main observation that I wanted to make was that immediately following all the quivering and Beck nearly tearing up over the man’s story came a commercial about Beck’s often touted sponsor, Goldline International, Inc, and another shorter spot about U.S. Gold. So, essentially, if you are Beck, you are on the air telling all these stories of folks in need, some people just plain worried about the economy and others who have managed to pull themselves out of the gutter, what better way to tell people you are rooting for the common man by encouraging folks to stockpile gold, a la, a pirate on the high seas. The oxymoron of all this was so stunning that I nearly tossed my weiner dog through the window. But, of course, it’s only an oxymoron when you look at the content of Beck’s show. When you look at the viewership, yeah, it’s folks who have sipped the FOX News Kool-Aid from Day One, but it’s also the Reagan trickle down economic crowd, who somehow think that the upper 99 percent of the population’s wealth is going to flow like a graceful, cooling stream down to the proletariat masses.
But, of course, Beck’s obsession with the gold industry won’t be news to regular viewers. He’s been talking up gold for quite some time now, while framing it in the context that the American dollar might be on the verge of a collapse. After all, he’s got to make up some frame of reference. Here’s a full piece on this by Think Progress. To read this article is to see just how pathetic, and desperate, Beck has become after losing the lion share of his sponsors with his fringe notions that, contrary to what he contends, are quite at odds with that of the real Thomas Paine, who was a progressive if he was nothing else. It’s entertaining that so many on the fringe right, the Tea Party crowd, and the like, summon Paine every chance they get while forgetting, or probably without knowing in the first place, that Paine was a deist and certainly not a Christian. Further, he was most likely against nearly everything for which they stand. Again, he was one of the most progressive men of his day. Any serious student of history knows this.
Here’s a comparison of Beck to Paine by Chris Kelly, in the piece, “Glenn Beck is Thomas Paine, Except for Everything“:
Do you like estate taxes? Paine was pitching them in 1791.
How about progressive taxation? Paine wasn’t just for it, he made charts and graphs.
Government make-work programs? Yep. Pay for them with the estate tax.
Public education? Yes, please.
International organizations? Paine said we needed them. Thought they might be useful for preventing wars after we disarmed.
If a woman were to defend the cause of her sex, she might address him in the following manner … If we have an equal right with you to virtue, why should we not have an equal right to praise? … Our duties are different from yours, but they are not therefore less difficult to fulfill, or of less consequence to society … You cannot be ignorant that we have need of courage not less than you … Permit our names to be sometimes pronounced beyond the narrow circle in which we live. Permit friendship, or at least love, to inscribe its emblem on the tomb where our ashes repose; and deny us not that public esteem which, after the esteem of one’s self, is the sweetest reward of well doing. — T. Paine
Compare and contrast:
OK, so anyway, I was talking about ugly people. Ugly people, if you’re a guy, you can get past it. I don’t think you can as an ugly woman. I don’t — no, I don’t. If you’re an ugly woman, I apologize. Oh, you’ve got a double cross, because if you’re an ugly woman, you’re probably a progressive as well. –G. Beck
Animal Rights Nuts?
Everything of cruelty to animals is a violation of moral duty. — T. Paine
Religion is under attack! — G. Beck
Priests and conjurors are of the same trade. — T. Paine
Thus, it’s quite a sideshow at this point that Beck and others know so little about the history they so often summon, or spin the Founders’ words to bolster their own ill-conceived arguments. But if they actually knew a wit about the Founders, they would realize that the Founders could take intellectual backstrokes around the current lot of fringe-crowd conservatives who are only attempting to elevate themselves, unjustifiably so, by calling up Paine or Jefferson or whichever Founder is, unbeknownst to them, their intellectual superior.
But, I was talking about gold wasn’t I? As noted, it’s sad and pathetic that Beck has so few sponsors left. It’s contemptible how he got to this point. He does have National Review, but wait, that’s a conservative outfit too, isn’t it? Real companies, like General Mills, AT&T, Walmart and Bank of America have all flown the coop. No matter. Beck still has his fringe crowd and others to ride the gold-colored Kool-Aid machine through some mythical history and future of their own making. Which makes me wonder. Did the aforementioned beneficiary of Beck’s sweater book become a client of Goldline as well? I’m willing to bet so. That would have been an entertaining twist to the story, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.