It has been a while since Glenn Beck dedicated his opening monologue to misrepresenting disparate global events in order to weave together an incoherent explanation of just how America has turned into a tyrannical communist/fascist/Nazi dictatorship.
But that was his message again last night, spurred on by his outrage over the fact that people were offended by a letter to the editor published in the Wall Street Journal in which billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins compared the "progressive war on the American one percent" to the demonization of the Jews during the Holocaust.
Perkins has since apologized and Beck is outraged over the fact that Perkins has been "savagely beaten in public" for simply telling the truth.
"We are Germany 1930," Beck said. "You can deny it all you want, but the socialist revolution is here," As proof, Beck pointed to the fact that Perkins' company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, sent out a tweet distancing itself from his comments:
Tom Perkins has not been involved in KPCB in years. We were shocked by his views expressed today in the WSJ and do not agree.
That tweet is, for Beck, proof that Perkins is being ostracized just as the Jews were under the Nazi regime.
"Is this a healthy society that says this?" Beck asked, before reading the tweet. "Welcome to the brave new world, gang":
We can add Bryan Fischer to the list of anti-gay activists who were outraged by the Grammy Awards, as he proclaimed on his radio show yesterday that Beyoncé's opening number a "complete raunch-fest" that was "inexcusably tawdry" and only served to set the tone for the "abomination" of seeing several gay couples get married later in the program during a performance of the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song "Same Love."
"If you care about children," Fischer said, "this thing ought to appall you because gay marriage is bad for children. In fact, same-sex parenting - I'm going to be very direct here - same-sex parenting is a form of child abuse":
Among the many court cases challenging contraception requirements under the Affordable Care Act, the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor has been, and continues to be, a strange one. The latest wrinkle came on Friday in what SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston calls a “partial win” for the order of nuns.
The Little Sisters, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, appealed to the Supreme Court to prevent the group from having to sign a form documenting its religious objection to providing contraception coverage while its broader challenge to the law moves through the courts. The Tenth Circuit had rejected a similar request.
Under the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious groups, that form would exempt the organization from providing or paying for contraception coverage, and that responsibility would pass to the group’s insurer. In a brief to the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General’s office said that by Becket’s reasoning, a Quaker couldn’t be required to attest to his religious objections before being absolved of military obligations. But Becket insisted that the form acted as a “permission slip” that would trigger contraception coverage, and that would make the nuns complicit.
What makes this argument even stranger is the fact that the Little Sisters’ insurer is classified as a “church plan,” which is exempt from enforcement of the ACA requirement. So whether or not the Little Sisters signed the form, their lay employees would still not have access to coverage.
On Friday, the Supreme Court granted the Little Sisters’ request for an injunction, with a proviso. The group did not have to sign the government’s religious objection form, but it did have to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of its religious objections by letter. The Becket Fund declared victory and announced itself “delighted” by the Court’s compromise.
So, to recap: requiring a religious organization to sign a form opting out of providing contraception coverage is religious tyranny, but requiring a religious organization to send a letter to HHS stating its objections to providing contraception coverage is a victory for religious freedom.
Just wait until the Supreme Court hears the more far-reaching Hobby Lobby case, in which Becket and its client seek to establish the principle that for-profit companies can opt out of laws protecting their employees if those laws conflict with the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners.
In tomorrow’s State of the Union address, President Obama is expected to speak at length about growing income inequality in the United States, and his plans to address it. Any plan to address income inequality must also address the political inequality created by unrestrained spending on elections.
Income inequality affects not just individual lives, but our political system as a whole. In a series of cases beginning with the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision, the Supreme Court has struck down commonsense campaign finance regulations designed to limit private economic power from dominating campaigns for political office – and thus dominating our country’s political process. Since that time, the income share of the top one percent of income earners has almost tripled, growing at a substantially higher rate than the income of the rest of the population.
This mounting wealth disparity has not resulted simply from the good fortune of the hardest working or smartest among us; it has been assisted through government policy. The capital gains tax sits at 23.8% for top earners despite the vast majority of Americans believing that it should be equal to the rate at which income is taxed. Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage, whose real value has fallen about 30% since 1968, remains stagnant at $7.25 per hour, despite the fact that 71 percent of Americans want to see it increased; however, only 40 percent of the wealthiest Americans support such an increase.
As income inequality has ballooned, it has also become more difficult for even the most hard-working Americans to improve their economic prospects. State university systems that were once free are now approaching the cost of private institutions, while scholarships are going less often to benefit low-income students. Labor unions, which were instrumental in building the American middle class, are facing attacks from legislators backed by well-funded corporate interests.
Income inequality and political inequality go hand-in-hand. As This American Life has noted, the average member of Congress spends at least four hours a day calling wealthy individuals and organizations asking for money, a tally that does not even include the countless fundraisers they must attend. Average Americans don’t get these calls. They do not get the chance to meet with their representatives at intimate gatherings. Their voices go unheard.
The sad truth is that under our current system, time-intensive fundraising and the concessions that go along with it are necessary conditions for the ascension to political office in the United States. That is something we need to change if we are ever going to deal with income inequality or any of the other major problem facing our country.
That is why we here at People for the American Way Foundation are calling for “Money Out, Voters In” campaign and are working to pass a constitutional amendment that will allow our elected officials to work for all Americans, not just the wealthy few.
On Friday, Allen West spoke with Steve Malzberg where he defended Mike Huckabee's recent comment by declaring that "the Left tries to win the women's vote by talking from the waist down" while Republicans seek to reach the hearts and minds of female voters.
Asserting that Democrats want the government to be "the sugar daddy" and replace men, West said Democrats have been "caught guilty as always" and are responding by attacking Huckabee. He then went on to claim that the Left remains utterly silent when women like Malala Yousafzai are abused and attacked by the Taliban before declaring that "I'm going to be very blunt: the Left tries to win the women's vote by talking from the waist down":
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver asserted that President Obama was siding with terrorist Muslim nations against Israel and intentionally weakening the United States because he hates America.
Bizarrely, Barber criticized Obama for cozying up to nations that "attack ... homosexuals," which is a bid odd given that Barber openly advocates for the passage of anti-gay laws here in America while Staver, who is part of a new effort to increase civility, has no qualms about declaring that Obama simply doesn't like America:
Barber: Time and time again, he has show through his actions that Barack Hussein Obama, that his sympathies lie with these Muslim nations, many of them terrorist nations. It boggles the mind when it is clearly not in the best interest of the United States, not in the best interest of Israel or the national security of either of these two western countries, the democratic hubs of the world, frankly, in terms of freedom. Yet this president seems to consistently align himself with these nations that attack, for instance, homosexuals, women, that repress women, that keep little girls from having education, these Islamic nations that seek to destroy America and Israel. I can't figure it out.
Staver: Well, I think he doesn't like America and he doesn't like the Judeo-Christian values that founded America and are the foundation of America. So, with his foreign policy, he is really pulling back America and weakening America.
Last week, Young People For (YP4) – a youth leadership program of PFAW Foundation – celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by concluding its ninth annual National Summit for young progressive leaders. Over the span of four days, more than 130 YP4 Fellows went through extensive trainings, preparing them both for the community projects they will be leading this year and for life-long careers in the progressive movement.
From workshops on fundraising, communications, and coalition building to keynotes from civil rights leaders Phillip Agnew, Sofia Campos, and Lt. Dan Choi, Fellows left the Summit with the motivation and skills necessary to implement progressive change across the country. Many are already launching into projects to enroll peers in affordable health care, register young adults to vote, create leadership development programs for youth in their own communities, and more.
Concurrent with the National Summit, YP4 also celebrated the completion of its seventh annual Front Line Leaders Academy, a six month program providing those interested in greater civic participation the ability to learn from successful political campaign professionals. Nineteen Fellows received accreditation on a wide range of political skills – from designing a field campaign to effective public speaking – that they learned over the course of the program.
On his broadcast on Friday, Bryan Fischer took calls from female listeners in an effort to get their perspective on Mike Huckabee's comment that Democrats are insulting women by requiring contraception coverage because they think women "can't control their libido."
Fischer, not surprisingly, defended Huckabee's point, adding that the invention of contraception has been nothing but a disaster for women because it "removed procreation from the sex act," thus freeing up men to have sex with women without having to worry about consequences and ultimately meaning that "he has no reason to commit himself to her."
As such, Fischer declared, "the guy is the one that gets most of the benefits out of this and the woman is the one who is left abused and misused, her body surgically invaded to remove a life in her, so it hasn't work out to be sexually liberating for women at all, as far as I can see":
Pressure is growing on Republican National Committee member Dave Agema to resign because of his long history of making outrageous anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements, with both RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak calling for him to step down.
But Agema does have one stalwart defender: Bryan Fischer, which is no surprise since Fischer likewise has a long history of making outrageously bigoted anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements. Today, Fischer dedicated a segment of his radio program to declaring that Agema is one of his heroes who, just like Jesus, is being targeted simply for telling the truth.
"There is only one test now to determine whether someone is a genuine conservative or not," Fischer said, "and that test is whether they support, embrace the homosexual agenda or whether they will criticize the normalization of homosexuality":
Allen West appeared on Jesse Lee Peterson's radio program yesterday where he vowed that he will "definitely" make another run for public office.
Claiming that he lost his re-election bid in 2012 because Democrats and Republicans conspired to remove him from office because they knew he was "a threat to us and our business as usual way of ruining this great country," West took pride in being a target and declared that he was not going away.
When Peterson asked West if he had any plans to run for office again in the future, West responded that "oh yeah, I will definitely come back ... In the 2016 cycle, we'll look to getting back in and running myself. Whatever God would have me do":
Last year, Glenn Beck promised to put on a show that was going to save the 4th of July and change the way it was celebrated forever. What we ended up getting was some maudlin stage show in which Beck talked to himself made up as the Man In The Moon:
Months later, The New York Times Magazine wrote an entirely unrelated article about Hillary Clinton's probable run for the presidency entitled "Planet Hillary" and featuring this cover:
So now, of course, Beck is accusing the Times of having ripped him off.
"I'm telling you," he said, "it is a direct rip-off of the Man In The Moon. I mean, it's incredible":
Do you know who else ripped Beck off? Georges Méliès ... a hundred and eleven years before Beck's own extravaganza.
Alex Seitz-Wald has a lengthy article in the current issue of National Journal Magazine all about the role that anti-gay American Religious Right activists have played in influencing and promoting anti-gay laws in various nations around the world, especially in places like Africa:
For years, evangelical missionaries have been deeply invested in Uganda—even more so since President Yoweri Museveni declared the country to be in the service of God and the first lady started worshiping at the evangelical church run by Robert Kayanja, who compares homosexuality to murder. "Whatever you see here is the fruit of American labor," Kayanja tells Roger Ross Williams in the filmmaker's new documentary, God Loves Uganda, as they sit in a well-appointed church built with American money. (Kayanja is one of the richest men in Uganda.)
Kapya Kaoma is an Anglican priest from Zambia, and when he started attending evangelical conferences and visiting Christian bookstores across Africa as part of his Ph.D. dissertation research, he found something surprising. "Their language sounded more like they were American, not like African Christianity," Kaoma says. "You go to Zambia, you go to Zimbabwe, you go to Uganda, Nigeria.… Wherever you go, where conservatives are winning, they're using the same talking points that are used in America."
David Bahati, the parliamentarian who authored Uganda's infamous anti-homosexuality law, told The New York Times he got the idea for the bill from conversations with members of the Fellowship—a powerful Arlington, Va.-based group that puts on the National Prayer Breakfast and owns the C Street house where several members of Congress live (the organization has since distanced itself from Bahati).
[Scott] Lively has been deeply involved in Uganda as well, and an LGBT-rights group there is suing him under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign victims of human-rights abuses to seek compensation in U.S. courts. During the debate over the bill, a Ugandan tabloid outed 100 gay Ugandans, with a banner that read "HANG THEM." A few weeks after David Kato, known as "Uganda's first openly gay man," won a defamation lawsuit against the paper, he was killed in his home. Kayanja's rival, pastor Martin Ssempa, once gave the editor of a local magazine a copy of Lively's book about gay Nazis, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.
That seems to be in contradiction to Marvin Olasky's assessment, as he writes in World Magazine that he does not support the Uganda law but does understand the inspiration behind it, saying that the solution is more access to Western Christian conservatives who can set them straight:
Chris Howles, a missionary in Uganda who in his blog, Namugongo Life, called the national opposition to homosexuality historical rather than religious. Howles wrote online (“Homophobia in Uganda: Is Christianity the problem or the solution?”), “The vast majority of Christians in this country have never met or spoken with a Western missionary. Nor have their leaders. Many of these attitudes about homosexuality come direct from traditional Ugandan culture.”
Howles has a better idea: Promote Christianity, not tradition. He argues that if Ugandans temper their desire to put homosexuals in prison, “it will most likely be because of Christianity, as churches preach a message of godly love and kindness towards active homosexuals.” Homosexuality is wrong and laws can be useful educators, but our hope is in “the gospel that shows us that all people are created in God’s image … the gospel that welcomes all people to confess that Jesus is Lord and unite together in a broken but re-built community of Christ,” as Ephesians 2:17-22 explains.
Anti-Christians shudder at that notion and desperately need to pretend that Ugandans would be positive about homosexuality if not brainwashed by missionaries—because if that’s not true, two liberal axioms crumble. One is that Africans are natural allies of the left in a war against “religious reactionaries.” The other is that “multiculturalism” is an ideological ally in the war against Christ. When Africans line up with Christian conservatives, the religious left can choose to change its thinking or fall into conspiracy theorizing. The latter is popular, even though the idea that African Christians are puppets demeans them as much as past racists ever did.
Seeing as American conservative Christian Religious Right activists have been loudly voicing support for these very sorts of laws and calling for the criminalization of homosexuality here, we're not quite sure how giving anti-gay activists around the world more access to these sorts of voices is supposed to help "temper their desire to put homosexuals in prison."
With every passing day, it seems that Glenn Beck's radio and television programs are becoming nothing more than displays of Beck's own hypocrisy, as he mocks, attacks, and criticizes others for doing the exact things he does on a regular basis.
On last night's program, Beck played a clip Fox's Bob Beckel furiously ranting about Beck's statement comparing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Alabama Governor George Wallace and, when the clip was over, Beck simply laughed and wondered why anyone would put someone like Beckel on television or even want to be around him.
"Bob," Beck said, "life does not have to be so angry all the time."
On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver rejoiced that recent polls show that the majority of Americans now consider themselves to be "pro-life" and encouraged politicians to "get on the winning side of history" and start passing legislation to outlaw abortion.
What anti-abortion activists always fail to mention whenever they trumpet this claim is that polls consistently show that the vast majority of Americans believe abortion should remain legal and available, with generally no more than 20% of the population wanting it to be outlawed entirely.
But for Barber and Staver, these polls demonstrate that legal abortion will soon become a thing of the past:
Barber: Today, fifty percent of Americans identify themselves as pro-life and this is the first time in the forty years since Roe v Wade that a majority of Americans have joined in the defense of women and children. In the past twenty years, opinions have shifted; in 1995, 56% of Americans identified themselves as pro-choice but now that number is less than 42%. That's a 15% swing, Mat, in thirteen years. That's huge.
Staver: And for politicians who want to run from the issue of life - I don't think they ought to guide their decisions by polls, but if they did, this would be one that would say they need to stand on the side of life.
Barber: Yeah, get rid of that pro-choice albatross that you have around your neck. Get on the winning side of history and that is the pro-life side.
Since Barber and Staver are so impressed with shifts in poll numbers on this issue, we assume that they will both soon drop their opposition to gay marriage since, back in 1996, a whopping 65% of Americans opposed it while only 27% supported it. Today, recent polls show that 55% of Americans now support marriage equality, while opposition has dropped into the low 40s.
That is a twenty-five point swing and, as Barber said, "that's huge."
So simply based on the polling advice of Barber and Staver, if politicians want to "get on the winning side of history," they probably ought to make their public support for marriage equality loud and clear.
Over the last few weeks, Glenn Beck has been confusing just about everybody by loudly and repeatedly denouncing the rise of anti-gay bigotry in Russia and declaring that anti-gay bigots have no right to call themselves fans of his. It has been confusing because, at the same time, Beck regularly pals around with anti-gay bigots and brings them on his show, all while proclaiming that he doesn't even know anybody who is anti-gay.
We are not the only one's confused by Beck's stance, as Bryan Fischer called out Beck yesterday on his radio program, wondering if Beck "has gone over to the dark side on ... sodomy-based marriage." After reading through Beck's statement that anyone who "hates a gay person because they're gay, you have no place calling yourself a fan of mine," Fischer trotted out the standard Religious Right defense that anti-gay bigotry is not based in hatred but rather in love, insisting that he loves gays but hates homosexuality and is simply trying to prevent them from living miserable, disease-filled, drug-addicted, guilt-ridden lives:
Fischer concluded by asking Beck if this means that he is not allowed to be a fan of his ... and that is a question we'd love to know the answer to as well.
Keep in mind that Fischer's "love" for gays involves calling for homosexuality to be criminalized and for gays to be banned from serving in public office, or as judges, or even as teachers. On top of that, Fischer has loudly praised Vladimir Putin as a "lion of Christianity" for his anti-gay crackdown and declared that the laws that Beck has been denouncing are exactly the sort of "public policy that we've been advocating" to enact in America.
And Fischer is not alone in praising the Russian law, as just yesterday Matt Barber and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel said that "we need to see" laws just like it passed "right here in the United States."
What does this have to do with Beck? Well, both Fischer's American Family Association and Liberty Counsel were sponsors of last year's Values Voter summit, at which Beck spoke. On top of that, the Family Research Council, which is the primary VVS sponsor, employs a man who openly calls for homosexuality to be criminalized and for gays to be exported out of the country.
For weeks now, Beck has taken a very public stand against the anti-gay bigotry in Russia while seeming utterly oblivious to the fact that a lot of the people he associates with happen believe the very same things.
So just what is Beck's standard for unacceptable "anti-gay" bigotry? Does supporting Russia's crackdown qualify? How about calling for the criminalization of homosexuality? The banning of gays from serving in public office?
In March, Beck is scheduled to speak at a United In Purpose voter mobilization summit, at which Vision America's Rick Scarborough is also scheduled to speak. Scarborough, like so many others, has also defended the Russian law that Beck has denounced, as well as called for a class-action lawsuit to be filed against homosexuality and declared that AIDS is God's judgment for people who engage in immoral behavior while insisting that gays always be referred to as "sodomites."
How much longer can Beck continue to denounce Russia's anti-gay bigotry while remaining totally silent about the fact that a significant number of the Religious Right leaders with whom he regularly associates not only support Russia's law but want to see similar laws enacted in America?
If Beck is really serious about his pledge to stand with groups like GLAAD against anti-gay bigotry, he has an opportunity to start demonstrating it by denouncing the likes of Scarborough and all of the other Religious Right leaders who openly applaud the very things that Beck claims to be taking a stand against.
As Peter noted in his post earlier today, it is a little difficult to take seriously the new Imago Dei campaign aimed at softening the Religious Right's bigoted, extremist language considering that someone like Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver is one of the leaders of this effort.
Nothing better demonstrates this point than this "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast in which Staver and Matt Barber wholeheartedly praise foreign nations like Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria for passing draconian anti-gay laws and declaring that the same sorts of laws ought to be passed here in America:
Staver: President Obama has been going in a direction to really deconstruct this and to create this idea of same-sex marriage, which is really an oxymoron. But, at the same time, the rest of the world seems to be going exactly opposite of the president and some of the states.
Barber: Yeah, and it's encouraging to see what's happening around the world. I think many nations, you think of Russia, you think of some of the African nations around the world, are looking to a liberalized Europe and are looking to the United States under this Obama Administration and they're rejecting this notion that you can take the institution of marriage and radically redefine it by sanctifying what every major world religion and thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology have long held: that homosexual behavior and conduct is both immoral, unnatural and self-destructive to the individuals engaged in the behavior and that you don't have a marriage built upon this immoral behavior.
Staver: Well, it seems as though, if people are having AIDS and most of that, as the CDC comes down and says, it is transmitted by male homosexuality, by and large, what are you going to do? Are you going to say, are you going to elevate that to a preferred status and say, well yeah, men ought to be able to marry men? That's an oxymoron. What Nigeria has done by reaffirming marriage as between one man and one woman is what a number of countries are doing around the world. They're reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman. Russia is one of those countries recently that did that. Latin American countries have reaffirmed marriage as one man and one woman. Then other countries around the world are reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman and rejecting this radicalized homosexual agenda.
Barber: This is a very dangerous lifestyle that countries like Russia are, in addition to reestablishing and saying no, marriage is what it's always been, they're saying additionally we are going to stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation and we need to see that right here in the United States.
We didn't think anything could top Glenn Beck's hypocrisy over Governor Andrew Cuomo's statement that "extreme conservatives ... have no place in the state of New York" but, of course, we were wrong, as we always are whenever we think that the Religious Right has reached its nadir.
To remind us of our folly was none other than Matthew Hagee, who used yesterday's broadcast of "The Hagee Hotline" to blast Cuomo for his comments.
Falsely asserting that Cuomo made the remarks duing his State of the State address (they were actually made during a radio interview), Hagee compared Cuomo's statement to George Wallace's attacks on those fighting for civil rights as well as the dehumanization and murder of millions by the likes of Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler:
To hear Hagee tell it, it is extremely dangerous when leaders begin declaring that people who do not share their particular views have no place in their own nation ... and keep in mind that Hagee's own father has used this very same sort of language, declaring on multiple occasions that atheists are not wanted in America and should get out of this country:
On his television broadcast last night, Glenn Beck again dedicated his opening monologue to decrying Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent comment that "extreme conservatives ... have no place in the state of New York," warning that Cuomo is on the wrong side of history and will be looked back upon with shame by future generations.
But it is not just Cuomo who is on the wrong side of history; so are supporters of Common Core and even Bill Nye, because, according to Beck, his opposition to teaching Creationism makes him no different from those who tried to silence Galileo: