Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Sunday, April 05, 2009
  Nut Jobs who "Think the Unthinkable"
Charles Blow get this one pretty much exactly right:
But, it’s not all just harmless talk. For some, their disaffection has hardened into something more dark and dangerous. They’re talking about a revolution.

Some simply lace their unscrupulous screeds with loaded language about the fall of the Republic. We have to “rise up” and “take back our country.” Others have been much more explicit.

For example, Chuck Norris, the preeminent black belt and prospective Red Shirt, wrote earlier this month on the conservative blog WorldNetDaily: “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?”

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, imagining herself as some sort of Delacroixian Liberty from the Land of the Lakes, urged her fellow Minnesotans to be “armed and dangerous,” ready to bust caps over cap-and-trade, I presume.

And between his tears, Glenn Beck, the self-professed “rodeo clown,” keeps warning of an impending insurrection by saying that he believes that we are heading for “depression” and “revolution” and then gaming out that revolution on his show last month. “Think the unthinkable” he said. Indeed.
I became aware of political vitriol around the time of Anita Hill and the debut of Rush Limbaugh on the national stage. At first I thought it was harmless - maybe even good for democracy to have a little bit of the "throw crap at a wall and see what sticks" style of punditry. I watched with only slight dismay in 1994 when a bunch of lies about a national health care proposal invigorated the Gingrich Contract with America. A few years later I got kinda angry when a bunch of pantie-sniffers, unleashed by the GOP congress, tried to undo an election. By the time that the Supreme Court circumvented the Constitutional remedy for a disputed Presidential Election in 2000, I was truly pissed off.

But never, never in my darkest thoughts did I think that some sort of overthrow of the US Government was something remotely desirable or beneficial to our American way of life.

After 9/11 everybody saved the nasty comments for Bin Laden and Co. However, The Bush administration lied their way into a disasterous war and their utter incompetence led many to call for their legal and orderly removal from office. The right, courtesy of the former pantie-sniffer Charles Krauhammer, began to accuse those who thought Bush should be held accountable for his mis-steps as suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. (I laughed)

Rush asked 'Which is the party of Hate?' and shortly thereafter criticizing the President opened you up to a knee-jerk response along the lines of 'Your deranged hatred of our president is a mental disorder.'

I remember a city councilor clenching his teeth as he gave just such a lecture about "hate" when a group of citizens asked the North Adams City Council to vote on a resolution supporting Bush's impeachment. One of those who led that particular movement had to drive by a sign put up by one of his neighbors' lawns calling him "Dr. Hate" every morning on his way to work.

In 2004 Howard Dean's unofficial motto was "Take our country back." Being a candidate for office, he obviously meant - at the ballot box.

But in 2009, when I hear Beck, Hannity or Limbaugh make comments like these, I don't think they want to wait until November 2012. No, all you have to do is read the comments at the national bellweather of right wing craziness,, and you will see many who are calling action of an undemocratic nature. Hell, even the local Topix forum of the Berkshire Eagle is overrun with insane rants about such Joh Birch-esque topics as Global Currency, Gun Confiscations, FEMA Concentration Camps, Mandatory Service, Secret Muslim bowing rituals, New World Order, Government Censorship, etc.... etc.... etc....

I used to write-off such nonsense, but this time around there is a different tone. The nutjobs are truly restless. They've been told that their world is coming to an end so many times that I think that they finally believe it.
I agree with your disdain for the language of violence and revolution in domestic politics. But "pantie-sniffer" is a bit silly, and if we are to use such mockery, wouldn't the worshipers of George Bush, or of American power more broadly, be "jockstrap sniffers" -- at least until Hillary is POTUS?

Also, it's a bellwether (a kind of sheep, not a kind of climate).

Also your vision is, as usual, ideologically constrained. The right has no monopoly on such language.

Note Lanny Davis on the raging anger of the left to Joe Lieberman at

Note Keith Olbermann to President Bush: "You’re a fascist!" (for backing telecom immunity for its cooperation after 9/11; later, when Obama voted for the same thing, Olbermann was OK with it; if you watch the Olbermann video, I think you'll see that "deranged hatred" is a reasonable description of his performance. To his credit Howard Dean went on Olbermann and opposed such language).

Note that with somewhat more context than Charles Blow provided, Michele Bachmann said of a talk with Chris Horner, "and I am going to have materials for them when they leave [the talk]. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax" -- she clearly meant she wanted to arm them with "materials" or information.

I also don't think Beck's over-the-top pessimism about economic collapse in 2012 makes him as extreme as the many on the left who saw Bush as a fascist who was going to round up Muslims and cancel the 2004 (and then 2008) elections. I suspect also that such pessimism about economic collapse would be eminently respectable to you under current economic conditions, if John McCain were president.

During Republican administration it is of course the left that propounds the “Joh[n] Birch-esque” topic of FEMA Concentration Camps. See for example
(or Google Bush fascist FEMA)

Finally, I think if George Bush and his administration had taken on Olbermann and Maddow half as much as Obama and his administration have taken on Limbaugh and Hannity, this fact would be exhibit #1 to you and the left that Bush was a fascist.
I don't see the left buying up ammunition at record rates.

'nuf said.
So you've read of a random poll, taking place at several gunstores across the country, which asked gun buyers their party affiliations, and found that the Rep/Dem ratio was higher now than in the previous years' polls? Or are you just talking out of your ***?
To be more serious, I agree it is a reasonable hypothesis that Republicans are disproportionately buying guns now, because it is reasonable to think that the motivation for buying is fear of Obama's gun control plans, and that the people who voted for Obama will generally be less suspicious of his plans.

But it remains to be seen whether or not these fears (and this buying) will be proved unfounded. Unlike some of your other points, which are already shown to be unfounded, to have been matched or exceeded on the left recently, or to have been dishonestly presented by Mr. Blow.

Your broad claims are not then supported by your merely reiterating that you got one point (which I did not refute) right, even if you think that's "enough said."
I can't decide whether you actually don't know the difference between hyperbole and eliminationist rhetoric or if you just like to argue.
O jeez. I just followed your links and have to laugh at your "refutations."

Hmmm. World Socialist Web Site versus Glen Beck. Which one has more sway.

And it took Bachman over two months to finally qualify her revolution comments. If you listen to her January 14 interview with Beck you would have no such hedging.

Yes, there are goofballs on the left, but they havn't been in violent revolt mode for almost 40 years. Whereas mainstream righties, congress members, top rated pundits, etc... are edging very close to Timothy McVeigh territory.

Sorry Dave, I've got no time for your incessant need to show that "both sides do it too." The arguments are not equal. The evidence does not balance.
1) I would of course match Olbermann with Beck, not the Socialists with Beck. I think you know this.

2) The Socialist site is certainly less notable than Beck or Olbermann, but certainly not obscure compared to the John Birch Society. (You considered FEMA fascism theories to be "Joh (sic) Birch-esque.") Also, the Google of Bush+fascist+FEMA brought up 48,000 hits, many of which were in fact of this type, and at least as notable as your chosen Freerepublic or JBS.

3: "And it took Bachman [sic] over two months to finally qualify her revolution comments. If you listen to her January 14 interview with Beck you would have no such hedging."

I got the Bachmann audio URL from your source (Blow). It contains the "armed and dangerous" quote you both mention, and it's on Huffington, so it's not chosen to make her look good.

I have read what I believe to be a complete transcript of Bachmann's 1/14/09 interview with Beck. I see nothing so damning or "revolution"ary as you suggest. (What the left picked out as damning there was "I would say there are probably 30 keepers of the flame over here… The main thing we can do right now is be foreign correspondents reporting to you from enemy lines.") Again, a war metaphor that's not unusual, violent, or even all that warlike. (In the Huffington audio she did use the common Jefferson quote on "revolution" which you were perhaps thinking of; I don't think anyone hearing or looking at that in context would see it in the light you propound; at any rate, neither Huffington nor Blow did, preferring as they did to highlight the more incendiary sounding "armed and dangerous" quote.

Please inform us of the actual Bachmann quote which you find so offensive, and/or another source URL if you believe Glenn Beck's transcript to be doctored.
Sorry Dave. No time to play debate club. Gotta go earn money.

That said, if you can't tell the difference between a host calling Bush a fascist and Beck, Hannity, et al's .... dangerous conspiracy crap (It was Beck who made the FEMA Camp claims) it's not worth my time.

And if you want to defend Bachman, whose latest is to call Americorps part of a "re-education" program, please, donate to her campaign. She's as wacked as they come. She sits in congress and is held as a "keeper of the flame" by the right's biggest names.

The msm and the lefty media run and hide from left wing wackos. (i.e. Cynthia McKinney, World Socialist types, ...) The righty media luuuuvs folks like Bachman.

And my point remains - the hard right wing of the this country is restless in a very ominous way right now. I've seen them angry before but this level of animus this early in a Democratic presidency is striking.

gotta run.....
I think if you want to make claims which are taken seriously, as opposed to posting polemical slogans, you should do some research and print quotes in context.

I don't watch Glenn Beck, and apparently you don't either. All indications from a 30-second trailer I just saw on Fox, and from the internet, is that Beck has been debunking the FEMA camp conspiracy theories (e.g., by bringing on James Meigs of Popular Mechanics), to the disgust of conspiracy theorists. Do you have any Beck quote indicating otherwise?

I also think if Limbaugh were calling President Obama a "fascist" you would consider that far more "dangerous" to the President than is predicting that his incompetence will lead to depression or even revolution. After all, a fascist should be shot, while an incompetent should merely be voted out of office.

I have no interest in donating to Bachmann or defending her politics; I defended her only against the charges you repeated, because they were misleading. Apparently having abandoned one 3-word snippet, you are now reduced to a 1-word scare quote. In context, it is not so unreasonable:

"It's under the guise of -- quote -- volunteerism. But it's not volunteers at all. It's paying people to do work on behalf of government. ...

And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."

I think her language is unwise here, because the history of the use of the term "re-education" opens her to precisely such one-word scare quoting, but I would indeed expect that Americorps will be indoctrinating people in a way which we should expect conservatives should oppose.

I am not aware of any quantitative information comparing the presence of left- and right-wing wackos in the press and in the political parties. If you want to bandy about anecdotes, it's hard to top Michael Moore sitting next to Jimmy Carter at the 2004 convention. Further, I wouldn't have to extract 3-word snippets from Cynthia McKinney's statements to make her look crazy; she's crazy even when you listen to what she actually has to say.
Unfortunately one of my weaknesses is listening to right-wing radio. I do hear these guys, Beck included although now that he is a TV star, I don't watch the FOX stuff. My take on them is my take.

Bachman is easily as bat-shit crazy as Cynthia McKinney ever was. Because of my Minnesota ties, I have been aware of her since her race against Patty Wetterling.

Bachman's words were not unwise, they were red meat.

... still working. Back to editing a menu and making Matzoh Balls.
She's "easily as bat-shit crazy" as McKinney -- you just can't find any actual quotes to prove it. (Or acknowledge that your previous statement "It was Beck who made the FEMA Camp claims" was a falsehood, notwithstanding the fact that you used to listen to him on the radio.)

With your evidence all hopelessly vague or false, why should anyone believe your thesis that the right embraces wackos to a greater extent than does the left?
Beck saying he cannot debunk FEMA camps just weeks before debunking them (after and because his credibility was assaulted):

Bachman's insanity is well documented. Try if you want to see the long and gory history of stupidity or maybe you can look at a relative's old blog post:

You can pretend you never heard her call the president Anti American during the campaign. You can pretend she doesn't call Democrats "enemies" in the media. You can pretend she is not claiming the dollar is at risk be replaced here at home by a global conspiracy. You can pretend she doesn't think the Americorps is cover for re-education camps. You can pretend that she doesn't think we are at risk of becoming "slaves" to the "left's" marxist/socialist plots. You can pretend that when she questioned Bernanke and Geitner in committee hears two weeks ago, she had the slightest clue what she was talking about.

But you would be wrong.

Sorry Dave, I have better things to do than to spend the next 15 minutes looking up specific quotes.

Buh bye.
Finally you report something which is fairly accurate in context on Glenn Back, although to be sure, the quote ("I can't debunk it") is a lot less damning than full-out support for the FEMA camp conspiracy theory, and Beck has since thoroughly debunked the FEMA camp theories on his show.

I don't believe I ever heard Bachmann say anything until your post, so I don't have to pretend not to have heard these various things. I defended her from a specific misleading claim you made here after I listened to her quote in context.

Bachmann may indeed be insane as you say (although I wouldn't take anything for granted based on your 1- and 2-word quotes), but we were debating, I think, whether she was as insane as Cynthia McKinney. As Bachmann has not assaulted any security officers, I think she meets the test for that reason alone.

As far as quotes go, I have McKinney supporting a murderous, if not genocidal campaign against white farmers: "To any honest observer, Zimbabwe's sin is that it has taken the position to right a wrong, whose resolution has been too long overdue--to return its land to its people."

Also, if you want conspiracy theorizing: “Why aren't the hard questions being asked. We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, delivered one such warning. Those engaged in unusual stock trades immediately before September 11 knew enough to make millions of dollars from United and American airlines, certain insurance and brokerage firms' stocks. What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?" After an uproar, this was followed by "I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case."

And if you want FEMA-type conspiracy theories, I have video of McKinney claiming that during hurricane Katrina, the government killed 5,000 prisoners execution-style and buried their bodies in a swamp. (Google Video cynthia mckinney killed execution style) On another occasion she claimed of the government that "They were going to round up 21 million Negroes because they were afraid of freeing black people."

See also "Cynthia McKinney: The rep who cries racism." at
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