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Archive for September 1st, 2010

Throughout his gripping new book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, Philadelphia Daily News reporter and blogger Will Bunch augments the notion that Glenn Beck is playing a fictional character named “Glenn Beck.” A faker. Specifically, Bunch draws together evidence indicating that Beck is nothing more than a morning zoo deejay whose latest money-making stunt is to portray a new kind of televangelist, offering political and religious salvation for profit.

Watching Beck’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, while simultaneously reading Bunch’s book, it struck me that Beck has moved beyond a mere televangelist and has taken on a character role far more nefarious and dangerous.

He’s becoming a phony-baloney faith-healer, minus the actual laying-on of hands. Saturday’s event was a slick, well-produced PR stunt disguised as a disjointed Christian revival torn from the Benny Hinn faith-healer playbook — orchestrated to emotionally and spiritually manipulate predominantly angry, naïve, paranoid white people — the frightened masses who want “their country” back.

In his reporting, Bunch displays Herculean levels of patience and professional restraint as he — or, in the context of the book, the attention-grabbing second-person voice “you” — visits with Beck disciples as they watch the neo-faith-healer’s Fox News show and discuss the latest conspiracy theory flowcharts on Beck’s famous chalkboard.

You can’t help feeling sympathy for these people as they’re manipulated by one of America’s most effective con-men — four hours a day, every weekday. It’s clear they’re looking for a new kind of savior. They’re looking for someone who will virtually lay his hands on their heads and reassure them that their unfocused fears and prejudices are, indeed, genuine and acceptable. The symbiotic relationship forming what’s commonly referred to as “epistemic closure” — a religious and ideological bomb-shelter protecting them from the not-to-be-trusted “Other.” And then, as with the unemployed Beck disciple in Bunch’s book, a Pennsylvanian named Robert Lloyd, they brandish their credit cards in the midst of a jobless recession and pay the preacher.

There’s no harm in making an honest buck, of course. But in the venue of cable news and AM talk radio, Beck is engaged in one of the most lucrative deceptions for cash in broadcast history. The dishonest buck. The big con. He’s Steve Martin’s faith-healer character in Leap of Faith, bilking yokels beyond the hundredth meridian for profit, with Will Bunch and others endeavoring to be the Liam Neeson sheriff, exposing the painted-on Jesus eyes and the fake tears of blood.

(more…)

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Obama: Hamas Attacks ‘Senseless Slaughter,’ Won’t Deter Peace Talks

Huff Post- Sam Stein- First Posted: 09- 1-10 01:20 PM   |   Updated: 09- 1-10 02:14 PM

Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama sternly condemned Tuesday’s attacks in Hebron that killed four Israelis.

Calling the attacks by Hamas a “senseless slaughter” carried out by “terrorists that are purposely trying to undermine” upcoming peace talks between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama reaffirmed his commitment to seeing those talks through.

“I want everybody to be very clear,” he said. “The United States is going to be unwavering in support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities. And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer lasting peace with the people throughout the region.”

The president spoke for roughly two minutes, wearing a dark suit and a lavender tie. He had notes placed on the lectern before him but did not appear to be reading heavily from them. To his left stood Netanyahu in a similarly dark suit with a red tie with blue stripes. The Israeli Prime Minister spoke after Obama and was slightly more graphic, calling the attacks “savagery and brutality.”

“These people have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything they oppose,” he said.

MORE HERE

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Crooks and Liars- By David Neiwert

September 01, 2010 10:00 AM

The mark of the truly fanatical propagandist is their fervent insistence on hyperinflating the value and importance and size of everything they’re connected with — even when they can be factually proven wrong. Like Glenn Beck yesterday, continuing to hype his incredibly boring rally Saturday in D.C. beyond whatever marginal entertainment value it might have had.

Beck continues to insist — in the buildup to comparing garbage after his rally with the garbage left after Obama’s inauguration — that 500,000 people showed up on the Mall Saturday. But the folks at CBS News who counted only 87,000 have released their hard data so you can look at it for yourself.

I thought this in particular was interesting:

In a blog post, Doig, writing from Portugal, noted that he estimated the crowd at Mr. Obama’s inauguration at roughly 800,000 – a number critics assailed as too low.

“Crowd counting, particularly of political events, always is controversial,” he wrote. “The organizers of the event inevitably hype their crowd estimate — often grossly — to demonstrate the popularity of their cause, and opponents inevitably underestimate to fit their own agenda. Because of the wild pre-inauguration predictions of how many would attend in person — up to 5 million! — my reality-based estimate was ignored by many left-wing commentators and embraced by those on the right.”

He added: “The frothing underscores the problem with hyped predictions of crowd size. Organizers and supporters are forced to insist loudly that the actual crowd met or exceeded their expectations, for fear that the realistic estimate will be painted as a disappointment. The time-honored way to dismiss scientific estimates that don’t reflect the pre-event hype is to claim political bias on the part of those doing the estimate. I am amused to see that those who embraced my Obama inauguration estimate as soberly realistic are now attacking the Beck rally estimate, produced using exactly the same methods, as deliberately biased.”

So the reality is that there were about ten times the number of people at Obama’s inauguration that were at Beckapalooza — which may have something to do with why the garbage count was higher.

At any rate, as if hyperinflating the numbers of his rally wasn’t enough, Beck a little later described its significance:

Beck: This is the third Great American Awakening. There have been two. One started by George Whitfield, and it led to the American Revolution. The second one happened in the 1840s and ’50s, and it started with people of faith, of all faiths, and it led to the freeing of the slaves. This one is going to restore our Constitution. It’s going to restore individual responsibility. It’s going to restore faith, hope, and charity.

This much hubris is going to produce quite the spectacular comedown.

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Excerpted from: Tony Blair: Gordon Brown tried to blackmail me
The Daily telegraph
By Robert Winnett and Henry Samuel
Published: 6:31AM BST 01 Sep 2010

Tony Blair's book A Journey Photo: AP

The pressure on Mr Blair to step aside became so great that he admits he may have become reliant on alcohol as he faced coup attempts from Mr Brown’s supporters. He discloses that he began drinking every day and needed the “support” that alcohol provided.

He discloses his “anguish” over the Iraq war and admits that he failed to predict the “nightmare” in the aftermath of the conflict. But he insists going to war was correct and says he will devote the rest of his life to making amends.

He also discloses how American hawks, particularly Dick Cheney, the then US vice-president, were apparently keen to invade other countries in the Middle East, including Syria.

“Diana was a manipulator like me.”

George W. Bush did not recognise the prime minister of Belgium or understand why he was at a G8 meeting, Tony Blair has disclosed

The book also reveals:

  • Mr Blair’s growing concerns over his relationship with alcohol. He describes how he used to drink a whisky or gin and tonic before his evening meal, then have several glasses of wine. He said he became aware it was “becoming a support”.
  • He still feels “anguish” about the Iraq war and says that he had never guessed “the nightmare” that would unfold after he took the decision to commit British troops to the American-led invasion.
  • He also discloses how American hawks, particularly Dick Cheney, the then US vice-president, were apparently keen to invade other countries in the Middle East, including Syria.
  • George W Bush is praised for his intelligence.
  • An entire chapter is devoted to the death of Princess Diana within months of his election. He says that both he and the princess were “manipulators”.
  • Tony Blair: Gordon Brown tried to blackmail me
  • Diana ‘was a manipulator like me’
  • Blair’s deep misgivings about Gordon Brown
  • Blair ‘lied to stop Northern Ireland peace talks collapsing’
  • George W. Bush did not recognise the prime minister of Belgium or understand why he was at a G8 meeting, Tony Blair has disclosed
  • Tony Blair: I did not understand Islam at time of 9/11 attacks
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/tony-blair/7974820/Tony-Blair-A-Journey-PMs-drinking-habit.html
  • Tony Blair ‘cannot say sorry in words’ about the Iraq war
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