What Do You Know About Glenn Beck

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Dana Milbank has a great WPost commentary on Beck.

“...The 45-year-old recovering alcoholic and Mormon convert has become the first true demagogue of the information age. His nightly diet of falsehoods and conspiracies on Fox, and his daily outrages on the radio, have propelled his popularity past even Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. His method is simple: He goes places where others are forbidden by conscience….A better question might be: “Is Glenn Beck America?” All ages have their charlatans. The fact that Beck’s stew of venom and fabrication has been such a triumph probably says less about Beck than about us. He has merely captured the moment.

There’s scant evidence that Beck holds his zany views with any conviction — even if he often breaks into tears on the air to demonstrate his passion. At the very least, he has come to his views recently, after years as a morning-zoo radio DJ with libertarian leanings. The Atlantic’s James Warren reported that the comedian Stephen Colbert recently spoke about the difficulty of lampooning Beck, reasoning that “if somebody doesn’t believe what they’re saying, it’s very hard to out-stupid them.”

But if Beck isn’t a true believer, he’s a brilliant entertainer, and he has calculated, correctly, that a large number of Americans would turn on cable news for more of the insults and conspiracies they get online.

In terms of the political culture, he’s more parasite than host. Yet, by any measure, he’s had a huge impact on the body politic….”

About Glenn Beck’s mentor:

“…By 1963, Skousen’s extremism was costing him. No conservative organization with any mainstream credibility wanted anything to do with him. Members of the ultraconservative American Security Council kicked him out because they felt he had “gone off the deep end.” One ASC member who shared this opinion was William C. Mott, the judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy. Mott found Skousen “money mad … totally unqualified and interested solely in furthering his own personal ends.“…”

Yep, sounds like Beck.

The Pink Flamingo found a fascinating little expose on Glenn Beck’s “conservative” credentials.  It is good weekend reading.

“…Anyone who has followed Beck will recognize the book’s title. Beck has been furiously promoting “The 5,000 Year Leap” for the past year, a push that peaked in March when he launched the 912 Project. That month, a new edition of “The 5,000 Year Leap,” complete with a laudatory new foreword by none other than Glenn Beck, came out of nowhere to hit No. 1 on Amazon. It remained in the top 15 all summer, holding the No. 1 spot in the government category for months. The book tops Beck’s 912 Project “required reading” list, and is routinely sold at 912 Project meetings where guest speakers often use it as their primary source material. At one 912 meet-up I attended in Florida, copies were stacked high on a table against the back wall, available for the 912 nice price of $15. “Don’t bother trying to get it at the library,” one 912er told me. “The wait list is 40 deep.”

What has Beck been pushing on his legions? “Leap,” first published in 1981, is a heavily illustrated and factually challenged attempt to explain American history through an unspoken lens of Mormon theology. As such, it is an early entry in the ongoing attempt by the religious right to rewrite history. Fundamentalists want to define the United States as a Christian nation rather than a secular republic, and recast the Founding Fathers as devout Christians guided by the Bible rather than deists inspired by French and English philosophers. “Leap” argues that the U.S. Constitution is a godly document above all else, based on natural law, and owes more to the Old and New Testaments than to the secular and radical spirit of the Enlightenment. It lists 28 fundamental beliefs — based on the sayings and writings of Moses, Jesus, Cicero, John Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith — that Skousen says have resulted in more God-directed progress than was achieved in the previous 5,000 years of every other civilization combined. The book reads exactly like what it was until Glenn Beck dragged it out of Mormon obscurity: a textbook full of aggressively selective quotations intended for conservative religious schools like Utah’s George Wythe University, where it has been part of the core freshman curriculum for decades (and where Beck spoke at this year’s annual fundraiser).

But more interesting than the contents of “The 5,000 Year Leap,” and more revealing for what it says about 912ers and the Glenn Beck Nation, is the book’s author. W. Cleon Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen’s own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous editions of “The 5,000 Year Leap.”

As Beck knows, to focus solely on “The 5,000 Year Leap” is to sell the author short. When he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen had authored more than a dozen books and pamphlets on the Red Menace, New World Order conspiracy, Christian child rearing, and Mormon end-times prophecy. It is a body of work that does much to explain Glenn Beck’s bizarre conspiratorial mash-up of recent months, which decries a new darkness at noon and finds strange symbols carefully coded in the retired lobby art of Rockefeller Center. It also suggests that the modern base of the Republican Party is headed to a very strange place.

…In “The Naked Communist,” Skousen had argued that the communists wanted power for their own reasons. In “The Naked Capitalist,” Skousen argued that those reasons were really the reasons of the dynastic rich, who used front groups to do their dirty work and hide their tracks. The purpose of liberal internationalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, argued Skousen, was to push “U.S. foreign policy toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society.” Skousen claimed the Anglo-American banking establishment had a long history of such activity going back to the Bolshevik Revolution. He substantiated this claim by citing the work of a former Czarist army officer named Arsene de Goulevitch. Among Goulevitch’s own sources is Boris Brasol, a pro-Nazi Russian émigré who provided Henry Ford with the first English translation of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

“The Naked Capitalist” does not seem like a text that would be part of the required reading list on any reputable college campus, but some BYU professors taught it out of allegiance to Skousen. Terrified, the editors of Dialogue: The Journal of Mormon Thought invited “Tragedy and Hope” author Carroll Quigley to comment on Skousen’s interpretation of his work. They also asked a highly respected BYU history professor named Louis C. Midgley to review Skousen’s latest pamphlet. Their judgment was not kind. In the Autumn/Winter 1971 issue of Dialogue, the two men accused Skousen of “inventing fantastic ideas and making inferences that go far beyond the bounds of honest commentary.” Skousen not only saw things that weren’t in Quigley’s book, they declared, he also missed what actually was there — namely, a critique of ultra-far-right conspiracists like Willard Cleon Skousen.

“Skousen’s personal position,” wrote a dismayed Quigley, “seems to me perilously close to the ‘exclusive uniformity’ which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan.”…

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5 thoughts on “What Do You Know About Glenn Beck

  1. Dana Milbank is not necessarily much beyond a left-wing partisan hack. Your other article comes from Salon, which features folks like Glen Greenwald, who got into some trouble a while back over his use of “sock puppet” comments.

    Now, I have actually taken the time to read The 5000-Year Leap. I can say that Milbank and that Salon article look more like typical left-wing hack jobs to shoot the messenger. Yes, Skousen’s thinking is from a Mormon background, but I think Mormons tend to be a far cry from Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ (where Obama was for twenty years).

    The other difference: Skousen felt America had great potential to do great things because the Founders were – Wright preached “God damn America.”

    The 28 principles mentioned by the way do seem to fit in largely with the same principles of the Republican party, at least in my mind. I do not even agree with all that Skousen wrote in that book, but most of it is pretty good stuff.

    Have you read the book, or have you just read what critics of Glenn Beck have had to say about the book?

  2. What I find so amazing is how stupid people can be, not researching something. Lindsey has REPEATEDLY said he is NOT for cap/trade, but putting LIMITS on what the EPA can do to destroy business. Hate is so irrational, isn’t it?

    SJR

  3. No, dear. YOU are not hearing what he’s saying and we don’t believe a liar.

    He SAYS he does not want cap and trade. Sorry, but he DOES want “cap and trade” if he is “putting a price on carbon” and selling/trading permits which he continues to espouse.

    The only other idea in play is restrictions being set by the EPA which he says he’s against. I believe that since he could not profit from EPA restrictions as much.

    If he wants a “price on carbon” then he’s suggesting some sort of trade going on. If it’s exactly like the currently proposed system or not, there are still going to be limits on carbon emissions–a “cap”–and some sort of “trade” for permits in a carbons emissions scheme. He says one thing but endorses the essence of the plan he’s denying.

    By the way, how much CO2 is released from cokes? Has anyone addressed this issue yet? See how ridiculous the whole thing is?

    WE in Lexington County see through his crap. YOU are knowingly covering for a CROOK–or he has pulled the wool over your eyes.

    And where does “hate” come into it? We’re debating and he’s saying the “debate is over.” At what point does logic begin to pry open the door of your closed mind?

    In any case, your unrequited LOVE is no less rational than the “hate” you’re accusing us of.

  4. **********************************
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    News – S.C. Politics
    Wednesday, Jan. 06, 2010
    Graham won’t bow to ‘political push back’
    By SAMMY FRETWELL – sfretwell@thestate.com

    U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham renewed his call Tuesday for federal controls on greenhouse gas pollution, despite continued criticism from the Republican Party’s most conservative members.

    Graham, R-S.C., backs legislation to crack down on carbon dioxide pollution, which he said will also boost the U.S. economy and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. He hopes compromise legislation he is working on will be more palatable to lawmakers who have expressed concern about two other greenhouse gas bills that “don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell” of passing Congress.

    Speaking to more than 100 people at a climate change conference in Columbia, Graham said Congress needs to act to control greenhouse gases or the U.S.

    With polar ice caps melting and air pollution a threat, it’s also good for the world and the nation, he said.

    “I have come to conclude that greenhouse gases and carbon pollution is not a good thing,” Graham said. “All the cars and trucks and plants that have been in existence since the Industrial Revolution, spewing out carbon day-in and day-out, will never convince me that’s a good thing for your children and the future of the planet.”

    Graham’s comments came a day after the Lexington County Republican Party voted to censure him, in part for supporting federal cap-and-trade legislation. He has been a leader in the push and has worked with leading Democrats. A cap-and-trade system is supposed to limit pollution by requiring companies that want to emit more than certain amounts of greenhouse gases to buy credits from those producing lower amounts. Some critics have complained bitterly about the costs to businesses of cap-and-trade legislation.

    But Graham said controlling carbon pollution “is a worthy endeavor” that would, in addition to attacking the problem of rising global temperatures, clean up the nation’s air and water.

    He received applause after his speech at the conference, attended mostly by foresters, farmers and environmentalists. Supporters of the conference, held at the state Forestry Commission, included the S.C. Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation.

    Graham is working on compromise legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as 17 percent by 2020, but also would include allowances for offshore oil drilling and incentives for increased use of nuclear power.

    He is working with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., on the proposal, according to a recent Houston Chronicle report. Moving away from the nation’s reliance on foreign oil will create more demand for other energy sources and create a new energy economy for the U.S., he said. It’s also good for national security, since many nations that sell oil are hostile to the U.S., he said. Although some environmentalists oppose offshore oil drilling and the expansion of nuclear power, Graham said both can be done cleanly. “Whatever political push back I get I’m willing to accept because I know what I’m trying to do makes sense to me,” Graham said. “I am convinced that reason, logic and good business sense, and good environmental policy, will trump the status quo.”
    Reach Fretwell at (803) 771-8537.
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    He only wants a compromise for his nuke and oil buddies to get more taxpayer money. HE’S STILL PUSHING CAP AND TRADE!

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