Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Beck’

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CONTENDER

November 19, 2009

As we approach the mid-term elections in 2010, it seems all of the focus is on the inevitable: the Democrats will lose seats in the House and Senate. The erosion of a president’s approval rating is also part of the political cycle. We Americans like diversity in our government. When one party controls both houses of congress and the White House, we get a little nervous.

Although the Republican Party is leaderless, the hardcore Conservative Movement has many leaders (*see the partial list below) and is pushing hard to cleanse the party of moderates. This is a HUGE mistake. Moderates attract independent voters. Without them, you’re left with the extremists in your party. By the time we get to the next Presidential Election, the number of people who call themselves independents will probably grow to about 40% of the voting population – not a good sign for the hard right or the hard left.

There’s been much discussion about who will be the Republican Nominee in 2012. Naturally, people go back to the names they know: Palin, Huckabee, Romney, etc. But there is a Republican you may not have heard about.

He’s fiscally conservative, voting “nay” on virtually every appropriations bill that comes up, including T.A.R.P. Obviously, he is already holding an elected office in congress. He is Pro-Life and pro-guns, including advocating for conceal carry laws. He seems to be moderate on climate and energy issues. He’s also seems to be down-the-middle on education issues, but does think “No Child Left Behind” is a good model for improving our schools. He’s very pro-military, possibly bordering on neo-conservatism.

According to Real Clear Politics, he’s considered a “dark horse” for a presidential bid in 2012, but I disagree. He knows how to raise money. (He’s sitting on $5.5M for his re-election bid next year.) He’s younger than most of the potential candidates, camera-ready, and could easily appeal to conservative independents.

Could he beat Obama in 2012? I doubt it – unless our President completely falls apart in his first term – an extremely unlikely scenario. But he could use the exposure in 2012 to make a very strong bid for the White House in 2016. Typically, second terms for Presidents are not as strong as first terms. Because of this, vice-presidents running for their boss’s position are not usually successful, historically speaking. Considering Biden will be 74 years old on November 20, 2016, there is a very good chance he won’t run for President. This would certainly create a scenario that could give a well-known, seemingly moderate Republican, a 50-50 shot at winning the White House. If Obama’s second term goes well, a Republican’s chance of winning decreases substantially against a formidable Democratic candidate.

The Republican I speak of is John Thune of South Dakota. 

Among the other “dark horses” mentioned in the Real Clear Politics article are Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.

There was one other “dark horse” mentioned: Dick Cheney.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

* Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, among others.

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HAD ENOUGH?

October 9, 2009

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Are true conservatives finally starting to realize the damage being done to their movement and the Republican Party by extremist TV and radio talking heads that call themselves conservatives? Has enough fear, hatred and anger been spewed that rational minds are starting to rebuke these clowns?

For months, I’ve wondered why Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage and others have been allowed to lead the Conservative Movement and by association, the GOP. It now appears there are signs of a push-back.

Could it be that Republicans and conservatives have had enough?

Lindsey Graham seems to be a little irritated.

Steven Hayward wrote this about today’s Conservatism.

David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York TImes,  wrote a stinging article on Glenn Beck and his ilk recently.

On “Meet the Press”, Sunday, October 4, 2009, in a discussion about who will be the Republican nominee in 2012, Mike Murphy (Republican Strategist and Campaign Manager for John McCain in 2000) said, “These radio guys can’t deliver a pizza, much less the nomination.” He also agreed with Steve Schmidt (Campaign Manager for McCain 2008) that Sarah Palin (Rush Limbaugh’s idea of a true conservative) will not be the nominee in 2012, and if by chance she did become the nominee, it would be catastrophic for the Republican Party. Where have you heard that before?

Joe Scarborough (former Congressman R-FL, and co-host of Morning Joe, MSNBC) pushed back against those who were rooting for our President to lose the bid for the Olympics in Chicago in 2016. “The fact President Obama failed makes me respect him more for taking the chance, and the fact many right-wing figures opposed the President’s mission shows just how narrow-minded partisanship makes us all. For the better part of 20 years, a bitterness has infected our politics that has weakened our country.”

That started the “pissing contest” with Rush Limbaugh.

Scarborough should have let it go, but his ego couldn’t keep him out of the “contest.”

Paul Krugman  (Nobel Prize Winning Economist, New York Times Writer) in his recent article, “The Politics of Spite” wrote, “ ‘Cheers erupted’ at the headquarters of the conservative Weekly Standard, according to a blog post by a member of the magazine’s staff, with the headline ‘Obama loses! Obama loses!’ Rush Limbaugh declared himself ‘gleeful.’ ‘World Rejects Obama,’ gloated the Drudge Report.” illustrating the anti-Americanism toward our country because these people wanted our President to fail in his bid for the 2016 Olympics. He said that the Conservative Movement “…has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old.”

Here’s just one more reason conservatives and Republicans need to speak out.

The mid-term elections will be fun to watch.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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TO KILL A FROG

September 26, 2009

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Far be it from me to EVER defend Glenn Beck – and I’m not defending him here. Even though he didn’t kill a frog, his political analogy was still absurd – and that’s a compliment.

But this is not about Glenn’s reasoning – it’s about the frog, which, as far as I’m concerned, deserves all the attention.

By now, most have probably concluded no frog was boiled to death by Glenn Beck. This is for those who are still not so sure. Yes, PETA members, I’m speaking to you.

Here’s the “controversial” clip from Beck’s show. 

Here’s some stills from the video. In this first still, we see Beck’s hand in the aquarium just after he grabs a frog.

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He starts to close his hand.

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As he continues to close his hand, notice that he keeps his index finger slightly open.

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This is the slide that starts to reveal Beck’s process for letting go of the frog. You can see a small part of the frog between his thumb and index finger. Also notice there is nothing in the top right corner of the aquarium.

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In this slide, you see Beck creating an opening by moving his thumb out of the way, allowing the frog to jump out and land in the top right corner of the aquarium. His front legs hit the aquarium wall first.

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In the next several slides, with the frog still located in the top right corner of the aquarium, you see Beck has closed his hand, and is removing it from aquarium. The frog’s rear legs are almost planted on the aquarium wall.

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Note that the frog is now firmly “attached” to the aquarium wall.

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In the next series of slides, Beck, no frog in hand, claims that he is throwing the frog into boiling water. One problem: you never see a frog go from his hands to the pot on the stove.

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No frog. No splash. Nothing.

And finally, here are the same video stills in a PDF Presentation. You can move through them at your pace with the up or down arrow. (This may take a few seconds to load.)

So, relax. As controversial as Beck is, I don’t think he’s a frog killer.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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THE DANGER OF A BROKEN RECORD

September 17, 2009

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“When we lose our curiosity, we disarm ourselves as Americans.”

This quote is not from some philosopher. I didn’t hear it in a political speech or from a CEO. This was said by a man who is a former college football player and coach, a hunter and fisherman, and the owner of two small businesses. 

I’ll tell you who it is later.*

This lack of “curiosity” (or what many of us call “intellectual curiosity”) identifies a shrinking but noisy part of our citizenship. They loudly repeat what they hear, with no concern for the veracity of their words. If they heard it from their favorite commentator, it must be true.

In a nutshell, this is the formula for the success of FOX News and others emulating their format on TV and radio.

The people at FreedomWorks, (Dick Army’s organization), Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project, the Tea Party Organizers and FOX News (the highest rated cable news network) decided to join forces for a show of strength against our President’s policies. With all of that publicity, and all spring and summer to prepare and promote this event, you would think that they would have packed the National Mall on September 12th. If it’s true that a large majority of the 300,000,000+ Americans aren’t happy with this President, one would expect at least 1% (3,000,000) to show up. But that’s not what happened. It wasn’t 1%, it wasn’t 1/10th of 1% (300,000), it was .022% (approximately 66,000) according to the DC police and fire departments. Not a small crowd, but certainly not what it was hyped up to be:

FreedomWorks said there were “…hundreds of thousands…” on their website.

FreedomWorksSite

The video below tries to make you believe that, “Rare footage from the terrace of the US Capitol building and time lapse footage of protesters marching down Pennsylvania Avenue illustrate the gathering of people who attended the March on Washing…”

Here’s a still from the footage. I noted the tower on the left for a reason.

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Using the tower as a marker, watch how many times the same footage repeats to make you think there were far more people in attendance than authorities reported.

Here’s the rebuttal of a statement made at the gathering that ABC News reported 1 to 1.5 million attending.

Crowd Size Misquoted

In an attempt to discredit the truth, the picture below was distributed showing the National Mall filled with people. Once verified, it was revealed that the photo is at least 5 years old.

Fake Photo

The picture was of the Promise Keepers’ gathering in 1997. Less than one minute of research reveals this. Those with no intellectual curiosity don’t want to know. They find it easier to just repeat what they’ve heard.

I’m not going to bother to show you what FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (who did not show up at his own gathering) had to say about the attendance. They reported anywhere from 1.5 to over 2 million. Unlike their viewership and listeners, the rest of us know how to use a PC for research. 

What we saw at this gathering was a re-run of what we’ve seen all spring and summer: the same derogatory signs, the same all-white crowds and the same speeches. Below are some pictures from this most recent event that could have been taken at any of the anti-Obama events this year.

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It’s beginning to look (and sound) like a broken record.

I can’t stress this enough: what we are witnessing is fear and its offspring: hate (in the form of bigotry). I do believe some are there out of a real concern for this country’s future and not just because they don’t like the color of our President’s skin. But because they are only “armed” with what they hear, they don’t realize they are protesting against their own best interests. Whatever freedoms they think they are losing are not in jeopardy. The so-called “out-of-control government spending” that they are protesting has been going on since the 1980s.

Reagan cut taxes on the top 2% and the deficit doubled in his eight years. Here’s his reasoning:

George H. W. Bush had to go back on his “Read my lips – no new taxes” statement and raise taxes during his term because the Reagan deficits were “out of control.”

In his 1992 debate, George H. W. Bush discusses the recession – obviously Reagan’s economic policies did not work. You also see why Bill Clinton won the election.

When George W. Bush came into office, we were operating with a balanced budget and a surplus. We were also reducing the debt.

Here’s some charts for you visual learners like me. 🙂

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One reason for Clinton’s economic policy success was “Pay-Go” (new spending had to be paid for and could not be added to the national debt). It was, unfortunately, allowed to expire in 2002.

It’s doubtful that anyone in the pictures above has done any of this research. They instead chose to be fearful and angry. What’s more pathetic is publically elected officials who will not stand up for what they know (at least I think they know) is the truth about these issues. They allow the misinformation to continue to divide us, because it’s more important to them to be re-elected than it is to bring this country together. Three of them spoke at the gathering. 

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There is a subtle underlying theme through all of these events starting to creep into mainstream media that is disconcerting. It’s the lack of respect for our legitimately elected President. Not his policies – him. Many of our citizens will never believe that a black man deserves to be President of the United States. Former President Jimmy Carter brought this thought to the forefront in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams on September 15th

I hesitantly agree with some of what he said. My hesitation comes not from disbelief of his words, but from a desire to not attract more disrespect for President Obama.

And while I do believe there is racism in the afore mentioned events, I do not want to leave you with the idea that I think everyone that attended is racist. The issue is in desperate need of serious and thoughtful discussion, but I’m concerned that even the most constructive conversation may be twisted into dangerous dialogue. This is when a lack of curiosity morphs into something far more harmful.

I pray this period of our nation’s history is not marked by something that I’ve lived through too many times before.

Dangerous dialogue, indeed.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

* Ed Shultz, 09-15-09

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LOONEY LANE

September 9, 2009

I was at my Dad’s house September 5th to watch the Ohio State / Navy game. (OSU has some work to do!) As I have mentioned before, there are many Republicans in my family. It’s all they know, and I for one, have no intention of trying to change their minds. They’ll figure it out eventually – hopefully in this life. If not, there’s always the next one. 🙂 

One of my family members happened to mention the “sudden change” in Glenn Beck. “I used to love his radio show and when he was on CNN. Now, I don’t know what’s happened to him. He’s really out there!”

What happened to him, my beloved, uninformed, FOX-News-watching, Limbaugh-loving, family member, is a black man was elected President of the United States.

Since Beck started going “really out there,” his show is losing sponsors. I am not suggesting that he will lose his show, because the publicity he receives from his insidious statements all but guarantees his place on FOX News – and ONLY  FOX News. Here’s what upset the sponsors back in July:

Ads were pulled in droves. By mid-August, twenty sponsors asked that their products not be promoted during Beck’s show. Here they are:

1. Wal-Mart 
2. Best Buy 
3. CVS Drugstores 
4. Allergen 
5. Ally Bank (part of GMAC!) 
6. Broadview Security 
7. Re-Bath 
8. Travelocity 
9. ConAgra
10. GEICO
11. Lawyers.com
12. Men’s Wearhouse
13. Proctors & Gamble
14. Progressive Insurance
15. Radio Shack
16. Roche
17. SC Johnson
18. Sanofi-Aventi
19. Sargento
20. State Farm Insurance

Here’s more information on the sponsorship pull-out.

Beck making ludicrous statements should not surprise anyone. What is surprising, sadly, is the number of people who STILL believe what he, and others like him, say about our President.

Why is “the noise” getting louder and more ridiculous? The number of “believers” is diminishing. As the audience continues to dissipate, the noise will increase – but only for a while. It may take a few more decades, but eventually, there will be an implosion of this “shock” media genre. Ultimately, attrition will come to bigotry.

Can you imagine our country not allowing women to vote? No Social Security? No Medicare/Medicaid? No interstate highway system? There too, will come a time, no doubt long after I’ve left this earth, when people will read about this era, unable to imagine our country ever tolerating the likes of Glenn Beck in our media.

It’s my dream – let me enjoy it.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

PS – The original photo I used to create the title graphic was taken by yours truly while on vacation at Seabrook Island, SC, at the end of August. My wife and I were in Charleston on a carriage ride.