Commentary

Glenn Beck Demands Van Jones’ Head And Obama Hands It To Him

van_jones_testifyFox News screaming head Glenn Beck now tells President Obama to fire White House employees, and Obama obeys.

While Obama presumably believes obedience will cause Beck to like him and begin praising him, Beck is building a list of additional people whose heads he will demand and denouncing Obama as hiding vast secrets by having complied with the demand to fire Van Jones.

If you can’t stand to watch Glenn Beck on television and want some idea of how he persuades a noisy minority of Americans of his sanity, one place to look is the #1 best-selling politics book in America: Glenn Beck’s Common Sense.

My own book Daybreak briefly knocked Beck’s out of the #1 spot on Amazon, but Beck is back there with his extremely short and fluffy book written “with Joseph Kerry” and “inspired by Thomas Paine.”

Paine, rather famously, wrote a book denouncing religion and supported the separation of church and state. Beck’s book promotes religion as the solution to all our political problems.

And Beck is right about some of the problems, right about people being angry, and right that vague talk of freedom and founding fathers helps his cause. But his specifics are ugly, and his book serves to misdirect people’s anger.

His introduction describes his desired readers and makes clear that they are not poor or black or gay:

“You have credit cards, but you can make the payments.  You have a home, but with a loan you can afford. . . . You don’t have much in savings and your retirement plans have lost a significant amount of money. . . . You don’t hate people who are different than you, but you stopped expressing opinions on sensitive issues a long time ago because you don’t want to be called a racist, bigot, or homophobe if you stand by your values and principles.”

While someone could indeed be falsely accused of such things, would it be false to accuse an author of such things for addressing his book only to this group of people?

Beck loves individual liberty, but opposes it to “transnationalism” as though the illegal spying programs and baseless arrests and denials of the right to assemble come from the United Nations.

Beck rightly denounces the bankster bailouts, but equates and conflates them with safety nets for ordinary people — which he opposes with equal fury. Beck loves his own words, but equates them with God’s. Beck loves freedom but equates it with “the free market.”

Beck smoothly denounces government abuses of power and opposes both major political parties, but offers no reforms to diminish the power of parties other than encouraging people to vote for third-party candidates if they can find some who are crazier than the Republicans.

At the top of Beck’s list of government abuses are such horrors as: taxation of corporations, failure to swiftly build a 670-mile fence to pretend to keep out the Mexicans, and politicians supposedly “insisting” that groups maintain their cultural identities and languages.

Beck bemoans government spending to no end, especially on education (which I suppose might hurt his book sales), but never ever mentions the greatest expense other than bankster bailouts, namely military and war spending.

You could read this pap and never know there were any wars going on. But Beck wants you to be very angry about government spending on skateboard parks and tattoo removal. He beats up on both Bush and Obama for the bankster bailouts and calls them fascists and socialists, and he supports ending debt and balancing budgets.

But he proposes no steps to get us there, and seems more interested in diverting attention from big expenses to small ones. Well, not all small ones: also Medicare and Social Security.

At one point Beck takes up the possibility of taxing the rich and corporations, but easily refutes it. He lists the profits of four corporations and announces his conclusion that you couldn’t find enough money there to pay off our national debt.

Could you not find enough to pay off part of it? Do we not have a bit more than four corporations left in the United States? Beck then says that current income tax is not enough either, but isn’t that the point of proposing to raise it on the super-wealthy (and lower it for the rest of us)?

Beck points out that rich people cheat on taxes, from which he concludes that the tax code is too complicated (as of course it is, but is that really the issue?), from which he then concludes that we need a nice simple flat tax.

The fact that a flat tax would radically reduce taxes on the super-wealthy while shifting more burden to the rest of us is presumably overlooked by Beck’s readers.

Then Beck finds a list of incidents in which CEO-types have been held to some slight account, such as Congress’s silly show of complaining about AIG’s bonuses, which was itself cover for the larger problem of having funneled our grandchildren’s earnings into AIG’s coffers.

Beck turns a list of attacks on executives and banksters into attacks on ordinary citizens, and then includes right in the middle of the list, as yet another attack on working people, the Employee Free Choice Act. This Beck denounces as depriving us of the sacred secret ballot.

Never mind that this bill would still allow secret ballots in unionization, but would impose penalties on companies that cheated.

When Beck finishes a long defense of CEO salaries, he launches into an attack on congressional ones. Apparently a couple of hundred thousand dollars is criminal, but hundreds of millions is entirely appropriate.

But Beck frames all of this as populism and demand for control of our lying cheating so-called representatives. He denounces gerrymandering and other real abuses, sounding very sane, and then dives into an explanation of how climate change is a scam designed to facilitate expanded government control of our lives.

There’s also apparently a conspiracy to replace families with international laws and institutions.

An appropriate response to all of this scariness, Beck thinks, is buying guns:

“I want to propose a new American ‘trust indicator.’ When the sales of guns and bullets goes down, it means that the American people have more trust in their government. When those sales rise, it means their trust in the government to protect them and their property is falling — it’s just common sense, right?”

Let’s hope not.

Let’s hope instead that Beck reads this line in his own book the next time he talks with or about a war criminal or a torturer:

“If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.”

David Swanson is the founder of afterdowningstreet.org and the author of the book Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union. Visit this link for information on Mr. Swanson’s upcoming appearances.

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5 Responses for “Glenn Beck Demands Van Jones’ Head And Obama Hands It To Him”

  1. dobropet says:

    Although I don’t agree with Beck in most instances, I do agree with some of the people around him that he supports;

    Peter Schiff, Andrew Napolitano, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Walter Block, Lew Rockwell, Pamela Gellar ( This last one occassionally.)

    And most if not all of the Austrian school idealists. You are correct in the assumption of his ideals, most of them are ironic and somewhat unwarranted when you get into those specifics.

    Yet it was Christopher Dodd who allowed the CEO bonuses to go unscathed, and as private enterprise is concerned there was no existing law to control the amounts handed over to them for their malicious activities. Although I’d believe by now that those that did do business with them are more than entitled to withdraw their support, whatever maybe left, and cripple the giant even further thus allowing for the freemarket dynamic to work.

    And as for his book, I hope in all sincerity that it is not based or inspired on Thomas Paine as his eloquence remains, in my mind, unmatched.

  2. theyarecrazy! says:

    The far right is announcing BECKS SUCCESS and planning more mutiny .. we must have an official statement of our own and comment on all far right sites and fight back !

    -Do not miss the “dark” reference from the bigots! –

    Glenn Beck: Van Jones Resigned ‘Under Darkness’
    Top-rated Fox News host Glenn Beck, credited with playing the leading role in the ouster of Obama’s Green Jobs Czar,

    http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/beck_jones_obama_boycott/2009/09/06/256993.html?s=al&promo_code=883A-1

  3. PJBurke says:

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Glenn Beck could not come anywhere close to that average were he to be 100% right on every issue for the rest of his life.

    I’m sure it took lye soap and a wire brush — maybe even a soak in a bath of tomato juice and white vinegar — to feel clean again after the slime and stink of Beck’s book. You’re much more of a servant of humanity — or much more of a glutton for punishment — than I.

    As for the Van Jones issue, I’m not sure why Democrats never brought up, in retort, the presence of Marvin Olasky in the Bush Administration — George W. Bush’s spiritual advisor — who actually joined the Communist Party (in 1972), something Jones never did. Nor did they bring up Elliott Abrams, an Iran-Contra convict and a El Mozote massacre denier (where an estimated 5000 civilians, including infants and pregnant women, were butchered)… and that was his area of responsibility when he was at State, and so he could have been “flying cover” for American-trained (perhaps also led) assassination squads. I’m sure there were any number of truly noxious and highly objectionable people in Bush’s administration (in addition to himself and Cheney, of course), but Democrats for some reason haven’t the strength to tell the critics — as Bush did (often) — “piss off… he stays.” And they don’t understand that by caving in to that that cry-baby Beck’s demands, he’ll just be — to a term from not so long ago — emboldened to go after others, an similarly fabricated garbage. Like McCarthy did, Beck claims to have a “list.”

    But maybe Jones can go full time now into the project of going after Beck’s — and Fox’s — advertisers.

  4. dobropet says:

    To be right, there are opponents on BOTH sides of the aisle that are worth removing from office and being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No one political party is better than the other, whether they are neo-cons or neo-progs they ultimately have the same interests at heart, more power.

    Defending one over another only allows those being defended the ability to slander or incite derision against the other party thus circumventing the process of discovering the truth whether it be on one side or the other.

    It is wrong to attribute Van Jones resignation solely to Glenn Becks efforts, as it is wrong to employ any professed communist into a position of authority in a country based upon the principals of life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. Niether one of the two are correct, it is right to denounce Glenn Beck as an ochestrator in this event, as it is right to call into question Van Jones intentions during his tenure for this adminstration.

  5. mcthorogood says:

    While all of us are products of the society that we live in, some of us chose to change society for better or worse. Like many of us, I went through several stages as I developed my worldview.

    Prior to 9-11, I was an engineer immersed in my daily job. Many of us are caught in the same daily grind without time for much else, especially since real wages have not kept up with the cost of living. The extra time after work is spent in leisure activities, often watching television. After 9-11, I ignored Dubya’s advice to just go shopping and instead researched Wahhabism.

    I didn’t begin to really wake up until early 2007, until I donned my tin-foil hat and became a Ron Paul supporter. I was shocked at the blatant corruption, the shadow government, and the various industrial complexes that curtail democracy within our government. Somewhere, along the way, the ideals of the American Revolution had been co-opted by corporate-personhood. I was mad as hell and I wasn’t going take it any more. But along the way I also learned about radical evangelism, politics of deviance, neoliberalism, social justice, climate change, and peak oil.

    Finally, I began to realize that we must accept responsibility for the situation in the world today, and to realize that change will not come from above, but from the people below. Just as the French rejected the birthright of kings in the eighteenth century, people outside the U.S. are rejecting neoliberalism in South America. Might we look to the people of Oaxaca, Mexico and Honduras as examples of real change?

    Glenn Beck is in the stage of being mad as hell. Many people having little time for much else, listen to and watch Glenn Beck and his ilk, and they too become mad as hell. People like Van Jones have already reached the final stage and realize that real social change only comes when all people unite for the common good.

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