Fox Business host Eric Bolling revived the right-wing lie that nearly half of Americans don't pay taxes, claiming on Fox News' Fox & Friends that "43 percent of households don't pay any federal tax" in order to suggest that "socialism" is coming if the nation does not change course. In fact, all working Americans pay federal payroll and other taxes, such as federal excise taxes.
For the past week, Glenn Beck has been heavily criticized for bashing Detroit and for comparing the Michigan city to Hiroshima after it was bombed during World War II. This isn't the first time Beck has railed against the city; he has attacked Detroit for years in pursuit of what one local pastor calls "his agenda."
In a March 4 post on her blog titled, "Hey, Eric Holder: Meet My People," Michelle Malkin attacked Attorney General Eric Holder for his recent reference to "my people" and wrote that his use of the term was "an unmistakably color-coded and exclusionary reference intended to deflect criticism of the Obama Justice Department's selective enforcement policies."
*Malkin, a Fox News contributor, is just the latest conservative media figure to attack Holder for his comments. As we documented, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft, and The Washington Times, among others, used Holder's comments to claim he is a "black nationalist" and that the Obama Justice Department is motivated by "racial bias." In his statement, Holder actually took issue with the suggestion that a 2008 incident involving the New Black Panther Party was a more "blatant form of voter intimidation" than what occurred in the 1960s; Holder said the suggestion "does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all."
From Malkin's blog post:
In pandering to skin-deep identity politics and exacerbating race-consciousness, Holder has given the rest of us a golden opportunity to stand up, identify "our people" and show the liberal poseurs what post-racialism really looks like.
Herman Cain is my people. He's my brother-in-arms. I've never met him. But we are family. We are kin because we are unhyphenated Americans who are comfortable in the black, brown and yellow skin we are in. We are growing in numbers -- on college campuses, in elected office, on the Internet, on radio airwaves, everywhere. And that drives liberals mouth-frothing crazy.
Val Prieto is my people. A fierce, freedom-loving American blogger of Cuban descent, he rejects race-card games and refuses to be lumped in with Hispanic ethnic grievance-mongers.
Katrina Pierson is my people. She's a feisty young Texas mom and Dallas tea party activist who supports limited government principles and rejects left-wing identity politics. She confronted the NAACP last year with a rousing manifesto of political independence and rebutted the left-wing group's attacks on the tea party as racist[.]
Allen West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and freshman congressman from Florida who happens to be black, is my people. Unafraid to skewer progressive sacred cows, he speaks boldly against global jihad and its Fifth Column enablers screaming "Islam-o-phobe!" West has also nailed the Congressional Black Caucus as "a monolithic voice that promotes these liberal social welfare policies and programs that are failing in the black community, that are preaching victimization and dependency; that's not the way that we should go."
It's government of, by and for the people -- all the people. Not just the ones still shackled by reflexive Democratic Party loyalty. We are beholden not to our skin pigment or ethnic tribes, but to American ideals, tradition, history and faith in the individual.
Three, two, one ... RAAAAAAAAAACISTS!
*This post has been updated.
The right-wing media have repeatedly mischaracterized Attorney General Eric Holder's recent reference to "my people" to claim that he is a "black nationalist" or that the Obama Justice Department is motivated by "racial bias." In his statement, Holder actually took issue with the suggestion that a 2008 incident involving the New Black Panther Party was a more "blatant form of voter intimidation" than what occurred in the 1960s; Holder said the suggestion "does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all."
The year Glenn Beck was born, Harper's published an essay by Richard Hofstadter in which the historian explained a "style of mind" common among "extreme right-wingers" of his time. He referred to it as "the paranoid style" for it adequately described this small minority's "sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy." Today, it's become increasingly clear that no other conservative personifies Hofstadter's "paranoid spokesman" for the 21st century more than Fox News' Beck.
Wrote Hofstadter in his 1964 essay:
The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms -- he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date fort the apocalypse. ("Time is running out," said [Robert H.] Welch in 1951. "Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.")
As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.
As Simon Maloy noted in December 2009, "Beck's America is one that is beset on all sides and constantly on the verge of collapse." Indeed, for the past few years, Beck has perennially warned of an "Archduke Ferdinand moment," as well as an imminent "perfect storm," which he claims will be an "attack unlike anything ever before from multiple fronts." On his February 25 show, for example, Beck stated: "The rain has begun to fall in the perfect storm. It has begun."
During the same show, Beck announced:
BECK: We're at a tipping point. We've seen protests in Wisconsin spread from state to state. Van Jones has called on the, quote, "powers that be" in both parties to come together in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin. He says organized workers, business leaders, veterans, students, youths, faith leaders, civil rights fighters, women's rights champions, immigrant rights defenders, LGBTQ stalwarts, environmentalists, academics, artists, celebrities, community activists, elected officials, and more -- he says they all need to come together and stand up for what is right. He goes on to say, quoting, "This is our tea party movement in a positive sense."
America, we are living in a country that I said, two years ago, before the election of Barack Obama, I said there is gonna come a time when you wake up in America and you won't recognize it anymore.
This claim that we have arrived at a "tipping point" or that a specific event heralds a "tipping point" is another revealing element of Beck's apocalyptic rhetoric. For years, in fact, Beck has harped on this imaginary "tipping point" to set himself apart as today's premier paranoid stylist:
In an interview with Newmax TV that is scheduled to air on February 27, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich discussed how President Obama "is breaking his word to the American people" over the Defense of Marriage Act, and stated:
GINGRICH: He swore an oath on the Bible to become president that he would uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws of the United States. He's not a one-person Supreme Court. The idea that we now have the rule of Obama instead of the rule of law should frighten everybody.
Imagine that Governor [Sarah] Palin had become president. Imagine that she had announced that Roe versus Wade in her judgment was unconstitutional and therefore the United States government would no longer protect anyone's right to have an abortion because she personally had decided it should be changed. The news media would have gone crazy. The New York Times would have demanded her impeachment.
The fact that the left likes the policy is allowing them to ignore the fact that this is a very unconstitutional act.
The Justice Department recently announced that it will no longer defend Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act following a review, in conjunction with the White House, that found that its definition of marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman" is unconstitutional. But, as we've documented, the administration will not stop enforcing the law. Moreover, presidents from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush have opted against defending statutes they viewed as unconstitutional.
When the host asked, "Is what he's doing impeachable in your view?" Gingrich replied: "I think that's something you get to much later. But I think clearly it is a dereliction of duty, clearly it is a violation of his constitutional oath, and clearly it is something which cannot be allowed to stand."
When the host pressed further, "At what point would the House or would you recommend the House consider articles of impeachment for that?" Gingrich replied:
GINGRICH: I think first you'd ought -- you have to communicate. Look, I don't think these guys set out to cause a constitutional crisis. I think they set out to pay off their allies in the gay community and to do something that they thought was clever. I think that they didn't understand the implication that having a president personally suspend a law is clearly unconstitutional. This is an impossible precedent.
Politico has now reported that Gingrich "is disputing the Newmax story, arguing that it 'inaccurately' suggested impeachment." In a statement, Gingrich reportedly said:
Congress has every responsibility to demand President Obama live up to his constitutional obligations, but impeachment is clearly not an appropriate action.
Glenn Beck said tonight on his show that he knows why President Obama has not condemned Libya's Moammar Gadhafi "by name." In fact, Beck said, Obama "hasn't mentioned his name ... at all in at least a month" and the "interesting" reason behind that, Beck revealed, has everything to do with Obama's past relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Proceeding to play his version of Connect Four in three moves, Beck showed us exactly how Obama is tied to Gadhafi through Wright.
This is what Beck said his crack research team uncovered: Rev. Wright is Obama's former longtime pastor. According to a clip Beck aired from a February 2008 interview of then-candidate Obama with NBC's Tim Russert, Wright once "said that Louis Farrakhan 'epitomizes greatness.' " And in 1984, Wright reportedly went to Libya with Farrakhan to meet with Gadhafi.
If we went digging into Beck's past going back decades and applied the same loose logic he uses, how many out-and-out crazy people would we find? How many statements would Beck have to distance himself from? I went ahead and played my own connect-the-dots and this is what I uncovered:
In a post on his Twitter feed, Capital Research Center senior editor Matthew Vadum wrote:
The link Vadum included went to a post by Ben Stein on The American Spectator blog, in which Stein argued that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act amounted to "a major constitutional coup":
I am all for gay men and women to have every right that I have. But isn't it a dangerous usurpation for the president to now take over the roles of the courts in their ultimate duty -- ruling on the constitutionality of laws? Isn't this about as dangerous an act as a president has ever done? Or am I missing something? Again, I love gay people and want them to be total equals of everyone else. But isn't there a major constitutional coup going on here?
The Department of Justice recently announced that it will no longer defend Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act following a review, in conjuction with the White House, that found that its definition of marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman" is unconstitutional. But that does not mean, as Vadum suggested, that the administration will stop enforcing the law. Indeed, the Justice Department has stressed that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law until Congress repeals Section Three or a court renders the section unconstitutional.
Moreover, in his letter to congressional leadership, Holder cited the basis upon which the executive branch chose not to defend this part of the legislation. Holder said that while "plausible" arguments could be made on behalf of the law, there were really no "reasonable" arguments available to defend it and the Justice Department has previously declined to defend laws in such a circumstance:
As you know, the Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense, a practice that accords the respect appropriately due to a coequal branch of government. However, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a "reasonable" one. "[D]ifferent cases can raise very different issues with respect to statutes of doubtful constitutional validity," and thus there are "a variety of factors that bear on whether the Department will defend the constitutionality of a statute." Letter to Hon. Orrin G. Hatch from Assistant Attorney General Andrew Fois at 7 (Mar. 22, 1996). This is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute. Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute "in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional," as is the case here. Seth P. Waxman, Defending Congress, 79 N.C. L.Rev. 1073, 1083 (2001).