Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Sunday, August 29, 2010


"JUST HOW BIG WERE THE 'THRONGS'?.... By all accounts, turnout at yesterday's far-right rally at the Lincoln Memorial was pretty strong, but that observation tends to lead to another question: how strong was it?

To underscore how tricky this is, consider two reports from McClatchy. One article said "tens of thousands" of people showed up for the rally, while another said "hundreds of thousands." Same news outlet, same day, covering the same story.

No wonder the National Park Service gave up on offering crowd estimates years ago.

As far as I can tell, the only outlet to publish an even vaguely-scientific headcount was CBS News.

An estimated 87,000 people attended a rally organized by talk-radio host and Fox News commentator Glenn Beck Saturday in Washington, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News.

The company based the attendance on aerial pictures it took over the gave its estimate a margin of error of 9,000, meaning between 78,000 and 96,000 people attended the rally. The photos used to make the estimate were taken at noon Saturday, which is when the company estimated was the rally's high point.

I imagine the right will find this number deeply unsatisfying, but a crowd of 87,000 people really isn't that bad. We are, after all, talking about a rally in late August, held by a media personality with declining ratings, which had no clear purpose or rationale.

It's not a tally that should necessarily strike fear in the hearts of the nation, but it's nothing for conservatives to be ashamed of, either. When 87,000 folks show up for an NFL game in Washington, it's considered pretty good turnout. It looks puny up against the numbers for, say, President Obama's inauguration last year, but the president enjoys far more support than a deranged media personality.

The problem, though, is that supporters exaggerated expectations in the wrong direction. Organizers told the National Park Service they expected 300,000 people to attend. The head of Freedom Works, an allied right-wing outfit, said on Friday he expected between 400,000 and 500,000.

One of these days, these folks will learn how to play the expectations game. For now, they're surprisingly bad at it."
—Steve Benen

One of Beck's followers blames gays and affirmative action [Dr. King FAVORED affirmative action, BTW] for his inability to move up the ladder in his job.  Now there's one example of "restoring honor," tothis country.  Blaming minorities for his failures.  Good going Beckerhead.  You'll surely go down in history as the worst of the cynical demagogues and charlatans.  Father Coughlin and Joseph McCarthy are saving a place for you in America's Hall of Shame.

And finally, typical of a demagogue who says anything to stir up the mob and to appeal to its ignorance and hatreds, Beck walks back his claim that President Obama is a racist and has a deep seated hatred of white people.  We know that Beck is stupid and says whatever idiocy manages to get through the cement that takes up the space between his ears, but now we can read how even he doesn't believe what he says, or at the very least, has to "clarify" his gross insult to President Obama:
From ThinkProgress:
Yesterday, “rodeo clown” Glenn Beck appeared on XM radio with African-American host Joe Madison. Beck seemed to be visiting the studio when Madison spotted him and asked him to come into the radio booth for an impromptu interview.

Immediately, Madison told Beck “I am so angry with you.” “Oh boy,” Beck responded, “Did I just walk into something I shouldn’t have walked into?” “Yes,” Madison said, pressing him on why he called Obama a racist:

MADISON: He’s not a racist?

BECK: What is he? [...] I’ve talked about this at length, and so I’m going to rehash it all. I’ve already said stupid comment, off the top of head. And I said just the other day, an ignorant comment. Now that I really understand how he grew up, where he grew up, what his influences were — it’s more of a liberation theology, a kind of attitude he has. That I immediately interpreted — because I didn’t understand him. His attitude is more of, like Bill Ayers — that America is an oppressor. And I just disagree with that.

MADISON: You do not believe President Obama is a racist?

BECK: I’ve said this before.

MADISON: A mistake? Was that a mistake?

BECK: Absolutely it was. And I’ve said that before. I misunderstood — this I just said the other day — I misunderstood his philosophy and his theology, which is liberation theology.

MADISON: Which was King’s philosophy. Big time.

BECK: Didn’t know that. I’ll talk to Alveda today about it.

MADISON: Oh, talk to his father. You know who you should talk to? Talk to Walter Fontroy. Rev. Walter Fontroy, who grew up with King. That was his philosophy — it was the theological philosophy of social justice.

BECK: Right. I am not a fan of social justice.

MADISON: That’s where we really part. I’m a big fan of social justice.

NOTE TO BECK:  "A man with a small head is like a pin without any, very apt to get into things beyond his depth" —Josh Billings


dmarks said...

"King FAVORED affirmative action"

But his famous "content of their character" quotation directly contradicts the racist part of affirmative action (goals, quotas, etc).

As for someone blaming it for failing to move up the job ladder, there is indeed a possibility that this happened. If the company or government agencies he applied for were racist and used skin color as any consideration in hiring or promotion.

Arthurstone said...

Poor 'federal worker'.

"Homosexuals prevent me from moving up. Affirmative action keeps me from achieving my true potential. These are dangerous times for the mediocre, narrow minded, incurious white guy. Like me."

The greater 'possibility', indeed the extreme likelihood, given his remarks captured on video, is that he is a talentless, inept mediocrity.

Bye the bye I love it when right-wingers 'explain' Dr. King for us.

A glance at the final line of this remarkable speech:

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

makes it abundantly clear that Dr. King believed that day to lie in the future as indeed, it still does today. In the meantime our duty as citizens working together and through our government is to insure equal opportunity for all. And until the day Dr. King looked forward to becomes a reality affirmative action remains one of the tools required to finish the job. It amuses me how white middle class males have come to the conclusion that racial, ethnic and sexual discrimination no longer exist except in the instances when some loser like the guy in the video doesn't get a promotion and he can blame the true victims for his shortcomings.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmarks said...

On JFK and affirmative action, from Wikipedia:

"ffirmative action was first established in Executive Order 10925, which was signed by President John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961 and required government contractors to "not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin" as well as to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin".

I find everything to support with this, and nothing to oppose. And I support a broader definition to include sexual preference and disability status.

Arthurstone said...

Other cherry-picking around MLK by the right is their ability absolutely to ignore the great mans opposition to US imperialism (Vietnam at the time) and his unequivical support of the right of workers to organize. Its shameless really.

Beck, Limbaugh et al. push a distorted, bowdlerized version of King.

Think 'MLK for Dummies'. The lite version.

dmarks said...

As for cherry picking, that is what most of the country does. If that is what you want to call it. He's recognized by the vast majority for his civil rights efforts. And rightly so. The other areas are far more controversial, and supporting King on the main thing does not necessarily mean support on the rest. After all, he's not some perfect saint where everything he said was above criticism. If you were so completely in lock step with all of his beliefs, you would be a Baptist by now.

Arthurstone said...

The 'vast majority' would indeed define King solely as a 'civil rights leader' and too many wrap him up with a bow & a card reading something like 'that was then, this is now'. And by golly we're 'colorblind' and if folks just worked a little harder they'd make something of themselves.

Fortunately there are many with a better grasp of Kings work and a more realistic picture of how much more is yet to be done to remind the self-congratulating 'conservatives' hellbent on hijacking Kings legacy they are mistaken.

It is nothing less than farce for Palin, Beck, Limbaugh et al to claim to be inspired by Kings example.

Wait. I misspoke.

It's bull***t.

Shaw Kenawe said...

“We’re dividing ourselves,” Beck lamented.

Who's this "we" white man?* Doesn't he pay attention to himself when he promotes divisiveness on his own show?

*Punch line to old Tonto/Lone Ranger joke.

“There is growing hatred in the country."

Excuse me, you fatuous jackass. YOU are the one who called the president of the United States a racist and someone with a deep seated hatred of white people!

"We must be better than what we’ve allowed ourselves to become."

Now that you've done the damage you want to run away from it, you cowardly worm.

"We must get the poison of hatred out of us, no matter what smears or lies are thrown our way…"

Oh really, Glenn? "Get the poison of hatred out of usk," like when you called liberals cockroaches?

"we must look to God and look to love."

Okay, now that he's turned American against American, he wants us to look to God and love?

Oh, that's rich.

"We must defend those we disagree with.”


"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it."The Glenn Beck Program," May 17, 2005

"When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining."The Glenn Beck Program," Sept. 9, 2005

"I have been nervous about this interview with you because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies. ... And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way." –interviewing Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim U.S. congressman, Glen Beck's show on CNN's Headline News, Nov. 14, 2006

Really. Glenn Beck is nuts. He has no consistency in his message, changing from one minute to the next. He's even walked back his statement that President Obama is a racist.

He doesn't know what he believes, except to get brainless people to follow his nonsensical crusade to bring honor back to America.

Just when did America lose this honor?

Could it have been when we elected out first brown skinned president?

I wonder...

Shaw Kenawe said...


You may have missed this in my post below this current one:

"King was well aware of the arguments used against affirmative action policies. As far back as 1964, he was writing in Why We Can't Wait: "Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic."

King supported affirmative action";type programs because he never confused the dream with American reality. As he put it, "A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro" to compete on a just and equal basis (quoted in Let the Trumpet Sound, by Stephen Oates).

In a 1965 Playboy interview, King compared affirmative action";style policies to the GI Bill: "Within common law we have ample precedents for special compensatory programs.... And you will remember that America adopted a policy of special treatment for her millions of veterans after the war."

In King's teachings, affirmative action approaches were not "reverse discrimination" or "racial preference." King promoted affirmative action not as preference for race over race (or gender over gender), but as a preference for inclusion, for equal oportunity, for real democracy. Nor was King's integration punitive: For him, integration benefited all Americans, male and female, white and non";white alike. And contrary to Gingrich, King insisted that, along with individual efforts, collective problems require collective solutions."

Sue said...

It's been reported Beck wore a bullet proof vest yesterday. Wonder what that's all about. Did he think he could be shot by one of his own teabaggers? Could he have been slightly petrified of the people marching with Al Sharpton, marching right past his teabaggers? Funny...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Well I can understand why he would wear a bullet-proof vest and not a helmet.

dmarks said...

Shaw: And that, devoid of discrimination or preferences, does sound admirable.

Anonymous said...

Beck says we need to restore America's honor? You mean like this glenn?

Glenn Beck Quote:
"But the second thought I had when I saw these people and they had to shut down the Astrodome and lock it down, I thought: I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims. These guys -- you know it's really sad. We're not hearing anything about Mississippi. We're not hearing anything about Alabama. We're hearing about the victims in New Orleans. This is a 90,000-square-mile disaster site, New Orleans is 181 square miles. A hundred and -- 0.2 percent of the disaster area is New Orleans! And that's all we're hearing about, are the people in New Orleans. Those are the only ones we're seeing on television are the scumbags -- and again, it's not all the people in New Orleans. Most of the people in New Orleans got out! It's just a small percentage of those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay in New Orleans, and they're getting all the attention. It's exactly like the 9-11 victims' families. There's about 10 of them that are spoiling it for everybody."

What a pos.

Arthurstone said...

With MLK long in the grave the conservative narrative has taken an unsurprising direction. The man for whom the right had absolutely no use during his lifetime had been tidied up, edited and trotted out as a 'hero' to the shameless conservatives exploiting his name.

Now that America is officially 'color-blind' ("we" elected an African-American President after all) MLK's work has been willfully misinterpreted and shoe-horned into one tiny talking point about how race, etc. shouldn't matter.

The real MLK and his tireless work for racial, class and economic reform and opposition to American imperialism is a different kettle of fish. And this crowd is still terrified of the man.

Beck appeared on Fox News Sunday following the Sunday rally.

"The civil rights movement always had an agenda beyond just equality, beyond just 'justice,'" noted Chris Wallace. "The full name of the march 47 years ago was 'The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.'"

"John Lewis, then a student, now a congressman, said this at the event, 'We need a bill that will ensure the equality of a maid who earns five dollars a week in the home of a family whose total income is $100,000 a year,'" he continued.

"The civil rights movement was always about an economic agenda," Wallace told Beck.

"Well, you know what Chris?" asked Beck. "I think that is part of it but that's a part of it that I don't agree with."

Shaw Kenawe said...

Of course Beck and FAUX News would be against economic justice. Dr. King was also anti-Vietnam war.

He marched for the garbage collectors in Tennessee, and it was there that he was murdered.

King was a dangerous man for those who sought to transform this country into a third-world model:

The super wealthy, and the rest of us.