Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beck's 'Apolitical' Black Robe Regiment Will Urge Voter Involvement

by Joe Strupp

Glenn Beck's newly created Black Robe Regiment -- which he has said would be apolitical -- apparently has a clear political direction, according to two of its members.

Dr. Richard Lee of the First Redeemer Church in Atlanta, Ga., and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, both said part of the group's mission is to return to their places of worship and boost voter involvement.

"We know the people of America are good, morale, decent people," Lee told me Tuesday. "If they look within their own hearts, they will vote the proper way and allow themselves to stand up at the voting polls."

Beck has repeatedly insisted that the new group and his recent rally would be apolitical.

On his radio show Monday, Beck discussed the first meeting to create the new group. He said: "I had a couple people that had helped put this together, and some of them had been involved in the Christian Coalition. And when I first called them and talked to them, I said, 'Look, I know you were involved in the Christian Coalition, but this isn't Christian, this has to be everybody, and it cannot ever be made about politics. If it's about politics, it's worthless.' And all of them said the same thing: 'Amen.' "

On Monday's edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Beck added: "If my church started to preach who to vote for, oh, the Republicans are better than the Democrats or vice versa, I would also leave my church on that."

But Lee said a mission of the Black Robe Regiment, a group of religious leaders that Beck announced on Saturday, is to get church members to use their voting rights and become involved: "It is to encourage our congregations to become involved in the process of restoring honor around the world and at home by being involved in the exercise of maintaining good will, including voting."

He added: "Voting is the voice of America. The public square happens in a voting booth - America is changed one vote at a time."

Lee said he has already become involved by placing voter registration forms in his church.

Asked if he will endorse candidates or tell parishioners for whom to vote, Lee said, "We do not vote a Republican ticket or a Democratic ticket, we vote a Christian ticket. How a candidate performs in relation to our Judeo-Christian ethic dictates how I support them."

Lee said he would endorse candidates privately. But asked if he would do so from the pulpit, he said: "I don't need to say it. If a candidate does not adhere to the Christian faith, they will know who it is."

Land also said he planned to boost voter involvement and guide parishioners to use their voting rights to influence government decisions on many issues.

"Energizing all of our members to register to vote, to be informed as to where the country stands on issues and leave it to them to connect the dots," Land said. "I will do my best to make sure they know what the bible says about the sanctity of human life, marriage and the notion of man."

Asked to be more specific on which issues he would discuss with parishioners with regard to voting, he cited abortion, same-sex marriage, assisted suicide and out-of-wedlock births.

"I think gay marriage is an oxymoron," Land said. "Marriage is between a man and a woman."

He also cited his opposition to the recent national health care legislation, stating, "It is rationing of care. I read the bill, it is horrifying."

Another participant in the group is Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.

He would not go into specifics about promoting voter involvement, but said: "In my case, it is a conviction that politics is nothing more than the practical application of our most deeply held moral values. This is simply making certain that those whose moral values are influenced by biblical thought also participate in the democratic process."

Land and Lee were first asked to join the group during a dinner hosted by Beck on June 30 at New York's London Hotel that included James Robison, Rev. James Dobson, Rev. John Hagee and about 15 other religious leaders.

"At that meeting, he said this is where he had been led to go," Land said, referring to Beck's reasons for starting the Black Robe Regiment. "He asked me to be a charter member."

Lee said Beck asked the leaders at the dinner how they believed their churches could help "bring the country together."

"There was no agenda put forth," said Lee. "We talked of voting, he did not bring it up. A lot of people have been disenchanted with politics in America."

Land did say one of the reasons for the push for voter involvement and the effort to utilize government more is because "our society sees its rights and privileges over its obligations."

Both men said no further planning had been done for the different religious leaders to meet again, but expected additional plans to be put in place.

"We are still in the formation process," said Lee.

It’s Witch-Hunt Season

By PAUL KRUGMAN The last time a Democrat sat in the White House, he faced a nonstop witch hunt by his political opponents. Prominent figures on the right accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of everything from drug smuggling to murder. And once Republicans took control of Congress, they subjected the Clinton administration to unrelenting harassment — at one point taking 140 hours of sworn testimony over accusations that the White House had misused its Christmas card list.

Now it’s happening again — except that this time it’s even worse. Let’s turn the floor over to Rush Limbaugh: “Imam Hussein Obama,” he recently declared, is “probably the best anti-American president we’ve ever had.”

To get a sense of how much it matters when people like Mr. Limbaugh talk like this, bear in mind that he’s an utterly mainstream figure within the Republican Party; bear in mind, too, that unless something changes the political dynamics, Republicans will soon control at least one house of Congress. This is going to be very, very ugly.

So where is this rage coming from? Why is it flourishing? What will it do to America?

Anyone who remembered the 1990s could have predicted something like the current political craziness. What we learned from the Clinton years is that a significant number of Americans just don’t consider government by liberals — even very moderate liberals — legitimate. Mr. Obama’s election would have enraged those people even if he were white. Of course, the fact that he isn’t, and has an alien-sounding name, adds to the rage.

By the way, I’m not talking about the rage of the excluded and the dispossessed: Tea Partiers are relatively affluent, and nobody is angrier these days than the very, very rich. Wall Street has turned on Mr. Obama with a vengeance: last month Steve Schwarzman, the billionaire chairman of the Blackstone Group, the private equity giant, compared proposals to end tax loopholes for hedge fund managers with the Nazi invasion of Poland.

And powerful forces are promoting and exploiting this rage. Jane Mayer’s new article in The New Yorker about the superrich Koch brothers and their war against Mr. Obama has generated much-justified attention, but as Ms. Mayer herself points out, only the scale of their effort is new: billionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife waged a similar war against Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, the right-wing media are replaying their greatest hits. In the 1990s, Mr. Limbaugh used innuendo to feed anti-Clinton mythology, notably the insinuation that Hillary Clinton was complicit in the death of Vince Foster. Now, as we’ve just seen, he’s doing his best to insinuate that Mr. Obama is a Muslim. Again, though, there’s an extra level of craziness this time around: Mr. Limbaugh is the same as he always was, but now seems tame compared with Glenn Beck.

And where, in all of this, are the responsible Republicans, leaders who will stand up and say that some partisans are going too far? Nowhere to be found.

To take a prime example: the hysteria over the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan almost makes one long for the days when former President George W. Bush tried to soothe religious hatred, declaring Islam a religion of peace. There were good reasons for his position: there are a billion Muslims in the world, and America can’t afford to make all of them its enemies.

But here’s the thing: Mr. Bush is still around, as are many of his former officials. Where are the statements, from the former president or those in his inner circle, preaching tolerance and denouncing anti-Islam hysteria? On this issue, as on many others, the G.O.P. establishment is offering a nearly uniform profile in cowardice.

So what will happen if, as expected, Republicans win control of the House? We already know part of the answer: Politico reports that they’re gearing up for a repeat performance of the 1990s, with a “wave of committee investigations” — several of them over supposed scandals that we already know are completely phony. We can expect the G.O.P. to play chicken over the federal budget, too; I’d put even odds on a 1995-type government shutdown sometime over the next couple of years.

It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. In particular, we’re still suffering the after-effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and we can’t afford to have a federal government paralyzed by an opposition with no interest in helping the president govern. But that’s what we’re likely to get.

If I were President Obama, I’d be doing all I could to head off this prospect, offering some major new initiatives on the economic front in particular, if only to shake up the political dynamic. But my guess is that the president will continue to play it safe, all the way into catastrophe.

Hate Radio Host Bill Cunningham Says He Will Broadcast From Boehner’s Office On Election Day

By George Zornick

On his nationally syndicated radio program Sunday night, hate radio host Bill Cunningham said that he will broadcast his show from the office of Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) on this November’s Election Day, and was invited by Boehner himself. “I’m going to do my show that day from the portico of the Speaker of the House’s office in the U.S. Capitol. I’ve been invited there by the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and I’ll be the only radio talk show host in the speaker’s office, doing my show from the portico overlooking the Washington Monument,” Cunningham said. “And I’m going to do it.” Listen here:

Cunningham is a prominent Ohio-based vitriolic hate radio host who was recently given a nationally syndicated television contract. In announcing his Election Day broadcast from Boehner’s office, Cunningham said: “[November 2nd, 2010] will be the date that normal Americans like you and I take back our country from the fraud and the charade which has been Barack Hussein Obama.”

Apparently, these are the types of statements that Boehner is willing to endorse in his effort to become Speaker of the House (via Media Matters):

– “Barack Hussein Obama, that’s the racist — obviously.” [8/24/09]

– Cunningham alleged that “Obama wants to gas the Jews.” [10/31/08]

– Cunningham invoked “[s]ix-six-six” and “the beast” in discussing “Barack Hussein Obama” [10/14/08]

– Cunningham highlights fake Kenyan birth certificate, says “maybe it is accurate,” but later adds “move on.” [08/03/08]

– Cunningham on Obama Sr.: “That’s what black fathers do. They simply leave.” [10/30/08]

– Cunningham on the poor: “They’re poor because they lack values, ethics, and morals.” [01/05/09]

– Bill Cunningham advocates “beat[ing] the hell outta” homeless people with “a big old cane, Singapore-style.” [07/14/09]

When contacted by ThinkProgress to confirm Cunningham’s appearance, Boehner’s office said only that the Congressman “has not made his plans for election night and will not for some time.” ThinkProgress contacted Cunningham’s producers, who said Boehner indeed promised to have Cunningham broadcast from his office, but they were not sure when it would happen.

M.C.L comment: I know progressive out there are disappointed with President Obama and the Democratic leadership in the senate but progressives come on do you really believe sitting out the elections which could allow that faux tan drunken garden gnome to become speaker of the house is going to teach the Obama white house anything? If anything a Republican control house would hurt us not teach the Democrats a lesson, instead of working on important things empty suits idiots like Michele Bachmann and Darrell Issa will be holding investigations to see what did President Obama order on a pizza..

Progressives what is more important your pet political issues or putting this country on the right path to recovery? The Republicans already told us what they want to do, more tax cuts for rich people paid for by raising taxes on the middle class, another attempt to privatize social security, more corporate deregulation and holding hearings about what color underwear President Obama is wearing..

Is that what you want? President Obama isn't moving fast for my liking regarding repelling DADT so I'm going to stay home and allow the tea bagger who's running against my Democratic congressmen or senator to win. I guess that newly elected tea bagger will be demanding DADT to be repel the first thing after he or she get swore in right?

This isn't about how you feel or how disappointed you are because your choice to vote or not doesn't just impact your district or your state Democratic party it impacts millions of people who want this government to work.

Koch Industries Applies For Federal Funds From Health Care Law It Opposes

By Igor Volsky Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the “first round of applicants accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program,” a $5 billion program established by the new health care law to help employers and states “maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for
Medicare.” According to the agency, “nearly 2,000 employers, representing large and small businesses, State and local governments, educational institutions, non-profits, and unions” applied and have been accepted into the program and “will begin to receive reimbursements for employee claims this fall.” Ironically, one of those employers is the oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries, which as Lee Fang has reported, has also spent millions of dollars opposing reform:

The contradictory practice of opposing the health care law while applying for its funding has been common among states. As the Wonk Room points out, 19 of the 22 states that are suing the federal government over health care reform have applied for the law’s rate review grants and at least 7 of those states also applied for the reinsurance dollars.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meltdown: Beck blasts key part of MLK's dream

by Eric Schroeck In the weeks leading up to his 8-28 rally, Glenn Beck repeatedly invoked Martin Luther King Jr., claiming that his rally would "reclaim the civil rights movement" and "pick up Martin Luther King's dream that has been distorted and lost."

But as we have noted, if anyone has been distorting King's message, it's Beck himself. Beck has portrayed the civil rights marches of the 1960s as a movement solely for equal rights that did not seek to promote social justice or economic rights. But that portrayal doesn't square with the reality of the civil rights movement. For example, the full name of the rally at which King delivered his "I have a dream" speech was the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," and the leaders of the rally included labor leaders along with civil rights leaders.

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace confronted Beck with this reality, noting that King's march on Washington was "for Jobs and Freedom" and that the "civil rights movement was always about an economic agenda."

And guess what? After weeks of repeatedly invoking King while promoting the 8-28 rally, and all of his talk about "reclaiming the civil rights movement," Beck now says he doesn't agree with a key portion of King's vision for civil rights -- going so far as to suggest that the civil rights movement's economic agenda was "racial politics."

Here's that exchange between Wallace and Beck:

WALLACE: The civil rights movement always had an agenda beyond just equality - beyond just, quote, "justice." The full name of the march 47 years ago was the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." One of the speakers at the event was a labor leader, A. Philip Randolph, who talked about the injustice of people who live in poverty. 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 $5 a week in the home of a family whose total income is $100,000 a year." The civil rights movement was always about an economic agenda.

BECK: Well, you know what, Chris? I think that is part of it, but that's a part of it that I don't agree with. I think the bigger part - the thing that we fail to recognize is that is the racial politics, that the real agenda should be equal justice, an equal shot. The dream was judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.

Later, Wallace again pressed Beck on the economic dimension to the civil rights movement, noting that King was assassinated while leading the Poor People's Campaign and that King "advocated what he called an economic bill of rights, guaranteeing everyone a job." Wallace then said to Beck: "I mean, you may say, well, that's not your civil rights movement, but it was Martin Luther King's."

Beck's response? "Well, I'm not Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King would have to stand for Martin Luther King -- let his words stand where they are."

That's quite a backtrack by Beck, who previously claimed he sought to "pick up Martin Luther King's dream that has been distorted and lost" with his 8-28 rally; compared the rally to King's "I have a dream" speech; and called it "divine providence" that the rally would be on the anniversary of that speech.

Beck has said that his 8-28 rally would "reclaim the civil rights movement." But it's clear now that Beck was only interested in reclaiming the parts of the civil rights movement with which he agrees while continuing to demonize the economic elements of the movement.

UPDATE: By acknowledging that economic aspects were "a part" of the civil rights movement, Beck is completely walking back his previous false criticisms of Rev. Al Sharpton and congressional Democrats, who Beck blasted for suggesting that social and economic justice played a role in the civil rights movement.

In July, for instance, Beck claimed that "the movement of the 1960s has been perverted and distorted" by people "like the Reverend Al Sharpton telling people that Martin Luther King's dream was really about redistribution of wealth." In May, Beck attacked congressional Democrats for tying health care, banking reform, and housing to civil rights. Describing the "civil rights marchers," Beck said they "were people with profound belief in God. They were trying to set things right. They weren't crying for social justice, they were crying out for equal justice."

So, previously, Beck attacked Democrats and progressives for tying economic issues to the civil rights movement. But today Beck admitted that an economic agenda was indeed "a part" of the civil rights movement -- a part of the movement with which Beck disagrees. That's a total walk-back by Beck.

Michigan Tea Party group loses bid to place names on ballot Read more: Michigan Tea Party group loses bid to place names on ballot

By Dawson Bell LANSING – The Michigan Court of Appeals denied today a request by a group calling itself the Tea Party to order state elections officials to approve its candidates for the November ballot.A three-judge panel of the court said elections officials were not required to honor the request because the Tea Party -- which state Republican Party officials and many tea party activists believe was created by Democrats to siphon votes away from Republicans – had not strictly adhered to election law in the nomination of its slate of candidates.

Twenty-three candidates purportedly nominated by the Tea Party were denied a spot on the ballot last week by a divided state elections panel, with Democrats voting to qualify them and Republicans opposed.

Tea Party attorney Mike Hodge was not immediately available for comment about whether the court ruling would be appealed.

Elections officials say they need to have a final list of candidates by early September in order to begin printing ballots.

Poll: Just 26% think Sarah Palin would be an effective president

By David Edwards Professor says Huffington Post more fair to former Alaska governor than CNN or Time When asked about a Beck/Palin ticket, Glenn Beck said he wasn't electable and "there are far too many people that are far smarter than me to be president."

According to a new poll from Vanity Fair and CBS News' 60 Minutes, the former Alaska governor might not be electable either.

The poll asks, "Do you think SARAH PALIN would have the ability to be an EFFECTIVE PRESIDENT?"

59 percent of respondents agree that the former Alaska governor would not be effective while 26 percent think she would.

A press release sent to RAW STORY announced:

Sarah Palin would not be an effective president say 6 in 10 Americans. Seventy-five percent of Democrats, 40 percent of Republicans, and 63 percent of independents all agreed that Sarah Palin would not be an effective president. Twenty-six percent overall did think she could navigate the Oval Office, including 47 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of Democrats, and 21 percent of independents.

Most notably, self-described conservatives were almost evenly split on the question. 40 percent said that Palin would not be effective while 41 percent said she would.

Palin has made a number of gaffes over the years which may inhibit her electability should she decide to run. During an interview with CBS' Katie Couric in 2008, Palin couldn't name a Supreme Court decision -- beyond Roe v. Wade -- she disagreed with and wouldn't name any newspaper or magazine that she read.

In an earlier interview, she suggested to ABC News' Charles Gibson that the US may need to go to war with Russia over their attack on Georgia. Palin was also widely ridiculed for saying that part of her national security experience was that parts of Russia could be seen from land in Alaska.

In a blog cross-posted at the conservative blog HotAir, Cornell associate law professor William Jacobson blasted news outlets like Time and CNN for reporting that the poll was about Palin's qualifications for office.

CNN reported:

Two days after Sarah Palin fired up a large crowd at Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally in Washington, a newly released survey suggests a clear majority of Americans don't think the former vice presidential nominee has the right credentials to be president.

According to the new survey from Vanity Fair and CBS News' 60 Minutes, only 1 in 4 of all adults thinks Palin is qualified to be commander-in-chief while 60 percent say she is not.

"This description of the poll is an outright fabrication. The actual poll question had nothing to do with credentials, qualifications, or even electability," wrote Jacobson.

The associate clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School also noted called out Time Magazine's description of the poll.

"Again, there is no truth to the characterization that the poll concerned qualifications or election prospects," he said.

But Jacobson praised Huffington Post because they put the poll in context:

While the 2012 election is a long way off and poll numbers are difficult to interpret, in one recent poll of potential 2012 matchups, conducted Aug. 6-9 by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, 43% of registered voters said they would support Palin to 49% for Obama.

"HuffPo more fair than CNN and Time Magazine. It has come to this," lamented Jacobson.

Joe Miller Dodges Questions On Whether Social Security And Medicare Are Constitutional

By Ben Armbruster Yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Alaska GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller suggested that both

Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional. When Bob Schieffer wondered whether Miller’s ideas — that Social Security should be privatized and that Medicare should be phased out — were too extreme, Miller shot back, citing the Constitution. “I would suggest to you that if one thinks that the Constitution is extreme then you’d also think the Founders are extreme,” he said.

Today on ABC’s Top Line, host Rick Klein asked Miller to expound. “Do you think those programs are constitutionally authorized?” Miller dodged, first — noting that his parents benefit from Social Security and Medicare — arguing that they should be preserved now, but “transition” to a privatization model in the future. Then, Miller again suggested the programs are not constitutional:

MILLER: I think we have to look at transferring power back to the states in such a way that states can then look at solutions that may be more appropriate. Then ultimately, when you look at the Constitution and you evaluate what the plan was originally, it was for states to take on more power than the federal government, particularly in the areas of, such as those things that may promote the general welfare. It was not a federal role.

Later on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell asked if Social Security and Medicare are “legal” and “should be mandated” by Congress and again, Miller dodged, saying, “I do believe that the Constitution mandates that we transfer power from the feds back to the states.” Watch the compilation:

Miller’s claim that the Constitution gives states the sole power to provide for general welfare is exactly wrong. In fact, Article I, Section 8 specifically states:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

Miller appears to be embracing what the Wonk Room’s Ian Millhiser describes as “tentherism,” the belief adopted by many on the right that posits that progressive policies such as health care reform and entitlement programs are an unconstitutional infringement on states’ rights.

Taliban Operative: We Are Using Protests Against Park 51 To Get ‘More Recruits, Donations, and Popular Support’

By Zaid Jilani For months, conservatives have led a hateful campaign against the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center that is going to be built two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City. High-ranking Republicans have spearheaded this campaign, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich even going as far as to claim that Park 51 will act as a launching pad for the introduction of “Sharia law” to America.

Now, Newsweek reveals the most concrete evidence yet that this campaign is serving to bolster support for Islamic radicalism abroad. In an interview with the magazine, a Taliban operative going by the name Zabihullah said that, by “preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor.” He goes on to explain that the anti-mosque campaign is providing the Taliban with “with more recruits, donations, and popular support.” Another Taliban official expects that the anti-mosque campaign will provoke a “new wave of terrorist trainees from the West,” similar to suspected Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad. Zabihullah concludes, the “more mosques you stop, the more jihadis we will get”:

Taliban officials know it’s sacrilegious to hope a mosque will not be built, but that’s exactly what they’re wishing for: the success of the fiery campaign to block the proposed Islamic cultural center and prayer room near the site of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan. “By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor,” Taliban operative Zabihullah tells NEWSWEEK. (Like many Afghans, he uses a single name.) “It’s providing us with more recruits, donations, and popular support.” [...]

Taliban officials say they’re looking forward to a new wave of terrorist trainees from the West like this year’s Times Square car bomber. “I expect we will soon be receiving more American Muslims like Faisal Shahzad who are looking for help in how to express their rage,” says a Taliban official who was a senior minister when the group ruled Afghanistan and who remains active in the insurgency. As an indication of the anger that is growing among some Muslims in the West, this official, who requested anonymity for security reasons, mentions the arrest of three Canadian Muslims in Ontario last week on charges of plotting to build and detonate improvised explosive devices. (A fourth individual was arrested in Ottawa last Friday in connection with the case.) The Ground Zero furor will likely add to that anger. “The more mosques you stop, the more jihadis we will get,” Zabihullah predicts.

As ThinkProgress previously noted, researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill concluded in a study earlier this year that contemporary mosques in the United States serve as a deterrent to Islamic radicalism. It now appears that the relationship works both ways. As the majority of tolerant and progressive Muslim Americans — like those heading Park 51 and other mosques — are prevented from peacefully practicing their own faith, the more likely it is that Muslims across the world will be radicalized and turned violent.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

REPORT: Martin Luther King would have been on Glenn Beck's chalkboard

by Ben Dimiero/Media Matters intern Kevin Zieber contributed to this report.

Fox News' Glenn Beck has spent the past several months relentlessly promoting his upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally, scheduled to take place this Saturday. Beck claims he originally wanted to schedule the rally for September 12, but decided to change the date because he didn't want to ask people to "work on the Sabbath." Instead, Beck and his event planners scheduled the rally for August 28, which coincides with the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "I have a dream" speech -- a fact that Beck insists he only later discovered in a New York Times article.

Nonetheless, Beck seized on the supposed coincidence, which he chalked up to "divine providence." To Beck, the 8-28 rally is more than just a gathering of like-minded conservatives calling for a restoration of "honor." Instead, he views the 8-28 rally on a much grander scale. In his words, it will be a "historic" day that will mark a "turning point in America" that your "children will remember."

Beck's discussions of the rally's supposedly crucial role in American history have included frequent invocations of the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. in particular. According to Beck, the rally will "reclaim the civil rights movement" because "Martin Luther King's dream" has "been distorted" and "massively perverted" by progressives. In attacking the people he claims are "perverting" King's legacy (i.e. progressives), Beck has suggested that he and his followers are the "inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement." In Beck's words, they will "take that movement, because we were the people that did it in the first place."

Beck is completely rewriting history.

King forcefully advocated for drastic action by the federal government to combat poverty; supported "social justice"; called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want to work"; and stated that we must address whether we need to "restructure the whole of American society" -- all ideas that Beck has vilified.

Beck accuses progressives of trying to rewrite history and implores his followers to read original sources, but a review of King's own words clearly shows that Beck's insistence that he and his followers are the custodians of King's dream and legacy is nothing more than a lie.

Beck vs. MLK on the role of government in fighting poverty

Beck vs. MLK on the redistribution of wealth

Beck vs. MLK on a "guaranteed annual income"

Beck vs. MLK on the "fundamental transformation" of our country

Beck vs. MLK on social justice

Beck vs. MLK on the role of government in fighting poverty

Beck has tried to rewrite King's economic views. Recently, he attacked Al Sharpton for "telling people that Martin Luther King's dream was really about redistribution of wealth." Beck added: "I don't remember that. Really?"

Beck may not "remember that," but King advocated for better "distribution of wealth" and "radical redistribution of economic power." Beck constantly rails against "big government," but King repeatedly and explicitly endorsed an expanded role for the federal government in fighting poverty in our country.

Beck: "Big government never lifts anybody out of poverty. It creates slaves, people who are dependent on the scraps from the government, the handouts." In one of his regular attacks on government programs aimed at helping the poor, Beck said that groups like Media Matters "dream of quotes" about how politicians (and Beck, by extension) want to make the poor "uncomfortable." Beck quoted Benjamin Franklin saying "the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty but leading or driving them out of it" and added that this sentiment is "true." He then ridiculed the idea that "generosity is expanding government" and mocked people who think that "true charity comes from extending welfare, raising the minimum wage, giving away free internet. Here's some concert tickets." According to Beck, "big government never lifts anybody out of poverty. It creates slaves -- people who are dependent on the scraps from the government, the handouts":

BECK: Imagine for a moment what would happen to a politician, especially a conservative, if he said this about the poor and poverty -- look at this -- "I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth, I traveled much, I observed in different countries that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves and, of course, became poorer. And on the contrary, the less that was done for them, the more they did for themselves and they became richer."

That only makes sense. The more you do for somebody else, the less they're going to do for themselves.

Media Matter, you know, geeks dream of quotes like this from a politician. They're just like, "Oh, please say something about the poor and how you want to make them uncomfortable." But it's true. Today, all it takes to be labeled a hatemonger is proposing a smaller budget, which is still an increase, smaller than the increase from the other guy. You're a hatemonger. Yet, here is Ben Franklin advocating that doing less for the poor is better. Even if you agree, that probably sounds radical, but it wasn't.

We're bombarded with the messages that generosity is expanding government. That's where true charity comes from, extending welfare, raising the minimum wage, giving away free Internet. Here are some concert tickets. I mean, what else do we have to give people? But Franklin's ideas were not -- at least most of them -- were not radical. They were common sense. Some of them, some of them were radical. I mean, the cure for us today is to have just a little bit of the common sense and what would seem radical.

No politician would say something like make the poor uncomfortable. But he's right. Big government never lifts anybody out of poverty. It creates slaves -- people who are dependent on the scraps from the government, the handouts.

Uncle Sam can't lift you out of poverty. That's up to you to do. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, Uncle Sam is wearing striped pants for a reason. The guy should be in prison.

Beck: President Obama is "addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery." Glenn Beck has frequently claimed that progressive policies create "slavery," which he described as "slavery to government, welfare, affirmative action, regulation, control," and that recipients of federal aid have been "taught to be slaves." In a typical outburst on the February 11, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, Beck claimed that the story of a homeless woman who had asked Obama for help finding a home was evidence that Obama "is addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery."

King: "We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind." In contrast to Beck, King was quoted in an article published shortly after his assassination in 1968 as saying that it was the government's responsibility to "acknowledge its debt to the poor," or else it will have "failed to live up to its promise to insure 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its citizens.'" He called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work":

We call our demonstration a campaign for jobs and income because we feel that the economic question is the most crucial that black people, and poor people generally, are confronting. There is a literal depression in the Negro community. When you have mass unemployment in the Negro community, it's called a social problem; when you have mass unemployment in the white community, it's called a depression. The fact is, there is major depression in the Negro community. The unemployment rate is extremely high, and among negro youth, it goes up as high as forty percent in some cities.

We need an economic bill of rights. This would guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work. It would also guarantee an income for all who are not able to work. Some people are too young, some are too old, some are physically disabled, and yet in order to live, they need income. It would mean creating certain public-service jobs, but that could be done in a few weeks. A program that would really deal with jobs could minimize -- I don't say stop -- the number of riots that could take place this summer.


We need to put pressure on Congress to get things done. We will do this with First Amendment activity. If Congress is unresponsive, we'll have to escalate in order to keep the issue alive and before it. This action may take on disruptive dimensions, but not violent in the sense of destroying life or property: it will be militant nonviolence.


In any event, we will not have been the ones who will have failed. We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind. If that power refuses to acknowledge its debt to the poor, it would have failed to live up to its promise to insure "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to its citizens."

[A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., Pages 67-69]

While King called for an "economic bill of rights" that would "guarantee a job to all people who want work and are able to work," Beck has labeled Cass Sunstein the "most dangerous man in America" in part because Sunstein supposedly called for a "second Bill of Rights" that includes a guarantee of jobs. Attacking FDR over the idea of a "second Bill of Rights" last July, Beck called the idea that you have a "right" to a job "Marxism."

Beck vs. MLK on the redistribution of wealth

Beck: "It's economic justice, which is socialism, which is forced redistribution of wealth, which is Marxism." During one of his frequent assaults on social justice (which is covered in detail below), Beck linked Rev. Jim Wallis to a "Marxist Dorothy Day" plot to pervert the gospel and "rot us from the inside." In the rant, Beck described "economic justice" as "socialism, which is forced redistribution of wealth, which is Marxism."

King: "Some will be called reds and Communists merely because they believe in economic justice and the brotherhood of man. But we shall overcome." King predicted that critics like Glenn Beck would vilify those who believe in "economic justice" by invoking communism. In a 1961 speech to the AFL-CIO, King dismissed the idea that his adherence to "economic justice" somehow made him a Communist, saying: "Yes, before the victory is won, some will be misunderstood. Some will be dismissed as dangerous rabble-rousers and agitators. Some will be called reds and Communists merely because they believe in economic justice and the brotherhood of man. But we shall overcome." [A Testament of Hope, Page 207]

Beck mocked the idea that "evil rich people" don't "pay their fair share" in taxes, rips the "protected poor." Beck has also lashed out at the "protected poor" who are taking tax money from the rich. Using a series of pies as props, Beck tried to show "who isn't paying their fair share" and mocked the idea that the "evil rich people" don't pay enough in taxes:

BECK: Here's the pie. This represents all of the money that we have in the federal government, all the taxes that are paid. Well, let's see who isn't paying their fair share. You decide. Is it the top 1 percent? This is the entire budget, all of our revenue, all of our revenue. How much do the top 1 percent pay? Only -- only about this much. That's it. Only -- if I can just get underneath here -- and it's going to be yummy. Only about this much. That's the top 1 percent. Oh, I hate those evil rich people. When will they pay their fair share? This again is one. One percent. OK?

Now, how about the top 2 percent to the top 10 percent? OK? So, this would include the 1 percent here and the rest of them in the top 10 percent. That would be -- let's see -- that would be about here. We have from 2 percent to 10 percent, they're paying -- mmm, doesn't this pie look yummy now? Who wants some? Seriously. OK, so that's -- this is the top 10 percent. So, I got to put 10 people in the pie. That's 10 people.

Now, we've got now 71 percent of the pie. The top 50 percent of pie-eaters account for -- now, this is the rest of the top 50 percent -- and that's going to be these people. Got it? We got to put 50 people to pay for that piece of pie. One, nine, 50. This represents the bottom 50 percent. They pay -- do I have any more? Yeah. They pay the bottom 3 percent. OK? So, don't you hate this one guy? Oh, my gosh, he's just not paying enough. Got it? He's paying 40 percent.

Now, the top -- the bottom 3 percent I have to -- I have to let you know, the bottom 50 percent, that 3 percent, they pay -- the bottom 50 percent pays only 3 percent of everything that we spend. The rest of it is put in a protected poor pie place. They got their own pie, never even touched. In fact, from time to time -- it's so great -- from time to time, we just whip people up in such a frenzy -- we're like, "I hate those people. Give them some pie!" Every year, we just give them some of the more -- yeah, we just give it -- because we hate the top 1 percent. We just take more of their pie, and we put it in the protected zone now.

Nobody, nobody could get in the protected zone. No. Don't take the poor pie. It's these people that we hate. These people are good. Got it? Now, that's our income. This is all we've got left. Don't even think about taking this. This is what we have to spend.

King's "American Dream": "[P]roperty widely distributed" and "a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few." On the other side of the spectrum, in his 1961 address to the AFL-CIO, King discussed how the "American dream" hasn't yet been fulfilled because it requires "equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed." King specifically decried the idea of taking "necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few."

This will be the day when we shall bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality -- that is the dream.

[A Testament of Hope, Page 206]

Beck vs. MLK on a "guaranteed annual income"

Beck: "They're collapsing the system and replace it with a system of guaranteed annual income for all the workers! Workers of the world unite!" During one of his regular segments fearmongering about the so-called Cloward and Piven strategy -- which calls for an overloading of government-provided services to force the government into a providing an income for every citizen -- Beck told his viewers to Google the names "Cloward and Piven" because the Obama administration is "collapsing the system and replace it with a system of guaranteed annual income for all the workers! Workers of the world unite!" [transcript for the November 3, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck, from the Nexis database]:

BECK: Here's two other names that they won't ever say. Put them on the bottom of the screen, please. Two names they will never say: Cloward and Piven. If you are watching with a DVR and you don't know what Cloward and Piven is, I want you to pause this show right now and go google it! Google it! Pause, please! Look it up.

This is important, because Cloward and Piven, the Cloward and Piven strategy, it's what they're doing. They're collapsing the system and replace it with a system of guaranteed annual income for all the workers! Workers of the world unite!

They need to do it this way. They need it do it in the cover of darkness. They need you to not to listen to me -- because if you start to listen to me, you're never going to willingly give up your freedom. You're going to be nudged into it, and if they can't nudge you into it, well then they'll push you into it.

King: "We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed national income." While Beck invokes the idea of a "guaranteed national income" to scare his viewers, King called on the U.S. to "develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed national income" to counter the "dislocations in the market operations of our economy." In his final speech as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King dismissed the idea that such a program would be "destructive of initiative and responsibility":

We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income. Now, early in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation, as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual's ability and talents. And, in the thinking of that day, the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber. We've come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that the dislocations in the market operations of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. Today the poor are less often dismissed, I hope, from our consciences by being branded as inferior or incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands, it does not eliminate all poverty.

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be twofold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.

[A Testament of Hope, Page 247]

King's compassion for the poor, who he hoped were "less often dismissed, I hope, from our consciences by being branded as inferior or incompetent," is a far cry from Beck's regular mockery and ridicule of those who are less fortunate than he is. During the debate over health care reform -- which Beck characterized as "good old socialism ... raping the pocketbooks of the rich to give to the poor" -- Beck and his crew repeatedly mocked the uninsured. In May, Beck played a clip of a protestor whose home was foreclosed on and yelled, "Get a job!"

Beck vs. MLK on the "fundamental transformation" of our country

Glenn Beck has repeatedly attacked President Obama for saying shortly before the 2008 election that "we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." In January of this year, Beck compared Obama's call to "fundamentally transform" America to Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin transforming the Soviet Union into an oligarchy. Beck also invoked the idea before the passage of health care reform, claiming that if the bill passed, the "pieces that the president needs to control every aspect of your life, to fundamentally transform America, will be finished." Though Beck fearmongers about Obama discussing a "fundamental transformation" of the country, King called for people to ask questions about "restructuring the whole of American society."

Beck fearmongered about a "fundamental transformation" based on "social and environmental and economic justice." On the May 5 edition of his Fox News program, Beck mocked the idea that we have a "broken system" and claimed that progressives will "tell us if the market has failed us, that consumerism was the problem, that it all led to greed and carelessness for the planet and everything has got to change" (from Nexis):

BECK: Somebody has got to be there to pick up all the pieces of the broken system and show us a better way to live. They will tell us if the free market has failed us, that consumerism was the problem, that it all led to greed and carelessness for the planet and everything has got to change. We have to have a fundamental transformation to move forward again.

And this time we will build a caring, loving, tolerant society based on social and environmental justice and economic justice. And all the animals will start to talk like they do in every Disney movie. It will be great.

But who are the people telling us that things are unsustainable? That's weird. All the people who helped create the problem. And this will affect us how again? Oh, yes. Yes, that's right. Because of mutually assured economic destruction, we're all connected, tied together.

King: "[T]he movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society." In his last address as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King discussed the direction the civil rights movement should "go from here":

I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here," that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, "Who owns the oil?" You begin to ask the question, "Who owns the iron ore?" You begin to ask to the question, "Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water?" These are questions that must be asked.

Now, don't think you have me in a "bind" today. I'm not talking about communism.

What I'm saying to you this morning is that communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truth of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.

[A Testament of Hope, Page 250]

Beck declared that Obama "really is a Marxist" because he "believes in the redistribution of wealth." On the August 4, 2008, edition of his CNN Headline News show, Beck said: "The thing that I do find about Barack Obama is that -- and I think America is starting to catch on to this -- this guy really is a Marxist. He believes in the redistribution of wealth. He believes in the global government and everything else."

King: "[W]e are dealing with issues that cannot be solved without the nation spending billions of dollars -- and undergoing a radical redistribution of economic power." In his book Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws That Changed America, author Nick Kotz writes that during a 1968 trip to Mississippi, King stated: "It didn't cost the nation one penny to integrate lunch counters," and, "It didn't cost the nation one penny to guarantee the right to vote." King concluded that "now, we are dealing with issues that cannot be solved without the nation spending billions of dollars -- and undergoing a radical redistribution of economic power."

Beck vs. MLK on social justice

Part and parcel of his ongoing fight against the idea of redistribution of wealth are Beck's many attacks on the concept of "social justice" and his demonization (literally) of churches, religious figures, and progressives that support the idea.

Among many other examples:

  • Beck advised listeners that when they see the words "social justice," they should "run, and don't listen to anyone who is telling you differently."
  • Beck told people to question church leaders who are "basing their religion on social justice."
  • Beck said progressives are trying to "hijack churches" with "social justice" and "economic justice."
  • Beck has also smeared supporters of social justice by saying that both Nazis and communists supported "social justice" and "talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly -- I love this -- democracy."

But Beck's attacks on social justice place him at odds with King, who dedicated his life to the cause of social justice.

Beck: "[C]ivil rights marchers" weren't "crying for social justice" In May, Beck attacked Democratic members of Congress for purportedly conflating health care reform with civil rights. Describing the "civil rights marchers," Beck said they "were people with profound belief in God. They were trying to set things right. They weren't crying for social justice, they were crying out for equal justice":

BECK: These people want to try to paint themselves as civil rights movement. You know, they're just a civil rights guy. "No, we're not revolutionaries, what? No, we're civil rights marchers."

Who were the civil rights marchers? They were people with profound belief in God. They were trying to set things right. They weren't crying for social justice, they were crying out for equal justice.

But these people, these mobs -- they're trying to recreate the civil rights thing all over again -- health care, banking reform, housing, the presidency, everything. Watch. Watch this.

[begin video clips]

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH): I believe health care is a civil right.

REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-RI): The parallels between the struggle for civil rights and the fight to make quality affordable health care accessible to all Americans are significant.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): This is a Civil Rights Act for the 21st century.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is a civil rights act.

King: "[W]e will be able to go this additional distance and achieve the ideal, the goal of the new age, the age of social justice." King gave a speech in 1963 at Western Michigan University expressly on the topic of "social justice." During the speech, King identified "the age of social justice" as a "goal" and "the ideal":

There is another thing about this attitude. We'll help those of us who have been the victims of oppression, and those of us who have been the victims of injustices in the old order, to go into the new order with the proper attitude, an attitude of reconciliation. It will help us to go in not with an idea of rising from position of disadvantage, to one of advantage, thus subverting justice. It will not cause us to substitute one tyranny for another. This is why I have said all over this nation that we must never substitute a doctrine of black supremacy for white supremacy. For the doctrine of black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy. God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men but God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race, the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers.

I think with all of these challenges being met and with all of the work, and determination going on, we will be able to go this additional distance and achieve the ideal, the goal of the new age, the age of social justice.

King discussed the "pursuit of social justice" In an interview that appeared in the January 1965 edition of Playboy magazine, King lamented the "socioeconomic vise" that led to riots. King specifically pointed to "social justice" and the "pursuit of social justice" as one of his goals:

PLAYBOY: Whom do you mean by "the establishment"?

MARTIN LUTHER KING: I mean the white leadership -- which I hold as responsible as anyone for the riots, for not removing the conditions that cause them. The deep frustration, the seething desperation of the Negro today is a product of slum housing, chronic poverty, woefully inadequate education and substandard schools. The Negro is trapped in a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign, caught in a vicious socioeconomic vise. And he is ostracized as is no other minority group in America by the evil of oppressive and constricting prejudice based solely upon his color. A righteous man has no alternative but to resist such an evil system. If he does not have the courage to resist nonviolently, then he runs the risk of a violent emotional explosion. As much as I deplore violence, there is one evil that is worse than violence, and that's cowardice. It is still my basic article of faith that social justice can be achieved and democracy advanced only to the degree that there is firm adherence to nonviolent action and resistance in the pursuit of social justice.

Beck: "They have infiltrated our churches" and "confused the gospel with government-run programs." Criticizing cap-and-trade legislation in June, Beck again attacked people who advocate "social justice," saying that they "have infiltrated our churches" and "confused the gospel with government run-programs."

King: "If America does not use her vast resources to end poverty ... she too will go to hell." King regularly painted the war against poverty -- which, again, he advocated fighting with large federal programs -- in a religious light. For example, in an address at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple in Memphis delivered weeks before his assassination, King recounted the biblical story of Dives and Lazarus, and interpreted the story as telling people that "Dives went to hell because he wanted to be a conscientious objector in the war against poverty." He continued:

And I come by here to say that America too is going to hell, if we don't use her wealth... If America does not use her vast resources to end poverty .. make it possible for all of God's children to have the basis.. basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.

King: Communism "should challenge every Christian -- as it challenged me -- to a growing concern about social justice." While King was firmly opposed to communism -- considering it to be "basically evil" -- he credited it with leading him to "a growing concern about social justice." In an essay published in the September 1958 edition of Fellowship magazine, King discussed how Marxismchallenged the "social conscience of the Christian churches" and noted that the "Christian ought always to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor." Once again, King approvingly cited the role that "social reforms" had played in reducing the gap between "superfluous wealth and abject poverty" and once again explicitly advocated for "better distribution of wealth":

Yet, in spite of the fact that my response to communism was and is negative, and I considered it basically evil, there were points at which I found it challenging. The late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, referred to communism as a Christian heresy. By this he meant that communism had laid hold of certain truths which are essential parts of the Christian view of things, but that it had bound up with them concepts and practices which no Christian could ever accept or profess. Communism challenged the late Archbishop and it should challenge every Christian -- as it challenged me -- to a growing concern about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, communism grew as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged. Communism in theory emphasized a classless society, and a concern for social justice, though the world knows from sad experience that in practice it created new classes and a new lexicon of injustice. The Christian ought always to be challenged by any protest against unfair treatment of the poor, for Christianity is itself such a protest, nowhere expressed more eloquently than in Jesus' words: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."


But in spite of the shortcomings of his analysis, Marx had raised some basic questions. I was deeply concerned from my early teen days about the gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, and my reading of Marx made me ever more conscious of this gulf. Although modern American capitalism had greatly reduced the gap through social reforms, there was still need for a better distribution of wealth. Moreover, Marx had revealed the danger of the profit motive as the sole basis of an economic system: capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity -- thus capitalism can lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the materialism taught by communism.

In short, I read Marx as I read all of the influential historical thinkers -- from a dialectical point of view, combining a partial "yes" and a partial "no." In so far as Marx posited a metaphysical materialism, an ethical relativism, and a strangulating totalitarianism, I responded with an unambiguous "no"; but in so far as he pointed to weaknesses of traditional capitalism, contributed to the growth of a definite self-consciousness in the masses, and challenged the social conscience of the Christian churches, I responded with a definite "yes."

My reading of Marx also convinced me that truth is found neither in Marxism nor in traditional capitalism. Each represents a partial truth. Historically capitalism failed to see the truth in collective enterprise, and Marxism failed to see the truth in individual enterprise. Nineteenth century capitalism failed to see that life is social and Marxism failed and still fails to see that life is individual and personal. The Kingdom of God is neither the thesis of individual enterprise nor the antithesis of collective enterprise, but a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.

Fox host: Cabbie stabbing ‘nothing to do with anti-Muslim sentiment’

By David Edwards

One Fox News host may be in denial about the effects of rampant Islamophobia over the so-called "Ground Zero mosque."

While reporting on the stabbing of a Muslim New York City cab driver, Alisyn Camerota maintained anti-Islamic rhetoric had nothing to do with the crime.

Michael Enright was charged Wednesday with attempted murder as hate crime for allegedly stabbing Ahmed Sharif in his cab Tuesday night. The attack allegedly began with Enright asking Sharif if he was a Muslim. When the cab driver answered yes, the attacker yelled, "As-salaam alaikum. This is a checkpoint, this is checkpoint, motherf**ker, I have to put you down." Sharif claims that Enright then took out a knife and slashed his throat, face and arm.

Enright reportedly volunteered for Intersections International, a pro-Islam global initiative. He had recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan where he filmed military exercises.

Fox News' Steve Doocy explained that liberals were placing the blame on anti-Muslim rhetoric. "Suddenly everybody is going look, that guy went berserk because clearly, this Islamaphobia that is brewing in Lower Manhattan because of the mosque, that's the reason that guy slit his throat!"

Camerota quickly offered a more benign explanation. "It turns out that this kid was just very drunk," she said. "It appears that he flew into this drunken rage."

"Now, why he asked if the driver was Muslim, why they had that exchange in Arabic, only he knows," Camerota continued.

"It seems like this kid has struggled with alcoholism. He's had a history dust-ups with the NYPD. Minor but all alcoholism related and that that's what is probably behind this."

"Nothing to do with anti-Muslim sentiment," she concluded.

But the New York Daily News reports that there is even more evidence that says Enright was harboring anti-Muslim feelings.

When he was arrested Tuesday in midtown, Enright had a personal diary filled with pages of "pretty strong anti-Muslim comments," a police source said.

The source said Enright's journal equated Muslims with "killers, ungrateful for the help they were being offered, filthy murderers without a conscience."

But The Associated Press was told that the notebooks did not contain any anti-Muslim rants.

While Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade said he was aware of the diary, he seemed to dismiss that it could be related to opposition to the Park51 cultural center, an Islamic center and mosque planned near Ground Zero.

"He has kept a diary with some anti-Muslim phrases and beliefs but let's not everyone jump to conclusions and immediately tie his actions to the mosque," said Kilmeade.

This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast Aug. 26, 2010.

An Irksome Arrangement: Glenn Beck Uses Charitable Donations To Pay For Restoring Honor Rally

By Tanya Somanader This Saturday, the polarizing Fox News pundit Glenn Beck is hosting his Restoring Honor Rally in Washington, DC. Even though conservative celebrity and “potential 2012 presidential candidate” Sarah Palin will speak and Tea Party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will attend, Beck is pitching the rally as a “non-political, non-partisan event” to “honor the troops, unite the American people under the principles of integrity and truth, and make a pledge to restore honor within ourselves and our country.”

Beck’s newfound commitment to “absolutely no politics” is not just rhetoric, but a contractual matter for the non-profit foundation co-sponsoring the event, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF). Founded in 1980, SOWF is a successful charity that provides college scholarships for children of special operations personnel killed in action or in training. Any fundraiser, including the Restoring Honor Rally, cannot be political and SOWF has required that speakers at the rally, including Palin, sign an agreement to that effect. SOWF guidelines also insist that “money needed for expenses (space rental, deposits, etc) must be supplied by the party” sponsoring the event. While the costs of such the rally, slated to approximate $2 million, were initially daunting, Beck found an easy answer: pay for it with the donations.

According to Beck’s rally website, “all contributions made” to SOWF “will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place on August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will then be retained by the SOWF.” As Mother Jones first reported, this arrangement was enough to irk ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to pull his donation to Beck’s rally earlier this month:

Cathie Levine, vice president for media relations at ABC News explained, “We get hundreds of these solicitations from charities every year and try as much as possible to fulfill them as long as they are meet our standards including that the proceeds go to charity.” A few days later, she reported back that, “We sought assurance that the auction money would go directly to charity and while we were told the rally costs were covered and that funds raised from our specific item would go to Special Operations Warrior Foundation, it didn’t sufficiently meet our standards. So we withdrew our auction item and George will make a personal donation directly to the SOWF.”

As SOWF spokeswoman Edie Rosenthal told Time’s Kate Pickeret, they have “never had an event that cost this much.” While Beck’s promotion brought in more than enough to pay for the “non-political” rally, he raised the money by auctioning off distinctly political prizes last month, including an autographed copy of tea party leader Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) book “Saving Freedom,” a lunch with Karl Rove for $7,500, or a Capitol tour with Bachmann for up to $13,000. When asked whether SOWF is concerned that associating with such right-wing politicos like the “divisive Beck” will tarnish their non-political reputation, Rosenthal said Beck is doing “something for the fallen” despite “whatever else he does” and “as crazy as he gets.”

Beck’s efforts have certainly raised an unprecedented amount for SOWF. But the financing arrangement behind the event colors it less as a charitable endeavor and more as a “symbiotic relationship.” As Pickeret notes, while SOWF “gets the largest influx of donations in its history,” Beck “gets to headline a donor-funded $1 million rally in Washington, DC.”

Producer Of New Commercial Smearing Muslims For Political Gain Also Produced The Willie Horton Ad

By Zaid Jilani

The American Future Fund (AFF) is a 501(c)(4) organization that bills itself as an institution designed to “elect candidates who reflect our values through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election.” Its latest ad takes aim at Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and is focused on the subject of the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center that is going to be built near Ground Zero in New York City.

The ad ominously warns that, “for centuries, Muslims built mosques where they won military victories. Now, they want to build a mosque at Ground Zero…It’s like the Japanese building at Pearl Harbor.” It goes on to say that the “Muslim cleric building the mosque believes America was partly responsible for 9/11, and is raising millions overseas from secret donors.” It then says, “Bruce Braley supports building a mosque at Ground Zero.” Watch it:

Many of the ad’s claims are offensive, some are wildly misleading and others are outright lies. The Sufi Muslim founders of Park 51 have no connection to Muslim conquerors (Muslims do not think as a hivemind) in Europe centuries ago, and aren’t building a mosque at Ground Zero — they’re building an Islamic community center two blocks away from the site of the attacks. As even the conservative Daily Caller admits, “you can’t even see the [site] from there!” The Japanese actually have built in the area of Pearl Harbor, with a few Shinto and Buddhist shrines near the location of the Japanese attack that occurred decades ago.

Park 51’s Imam Abdul Rauf did not say America was responsible for 9/11. He called the attacks a “crime” that America did not deserve, and merely noted that certain American policies have served to radicalize Muslims over the years, an admission also made by Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Department and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). And Rauf is not “raising millions overseas from secret donors.” His organization has barely even started fundraising for the project — the last financial report filed with the state found that it had raised $18,255 so far.

To be able to put out a misleading ad smearing a minority group like the one above, AFF turned to a dubious cast of “experts.” One of the organization’s key media strategists is Larry McCarthy, who is president of media firm McCarthy Marcus Hennings. “In 1988, McCarthy produced the infamous, racially tinged Willie Horton television ad” in the Dukakis-Bush race that helped tank the Dukakis campaign by ginning up racial animus against African-Americans.

AFF’s founder Nick Ryan confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) that McCarthy produced the ad. Ryan also told CPI that McCarthy “does a lot of ads for the fund.”

Unfortunately, AFF is far from a fringe organization. This special interest group using racially-charged ads has deep ties to the Republican establishment. Although it has scrubbed its official website of the details of its lecture series, a search through its web cache reveals that in recent months it has hosted such GOP heavyweights as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad.