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The Gospel according to Glenn Beck: Tea Party must tread carefully

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Paul Mason | 14:12 UK time, Monday, 20 September 2010

Once Glenn Beck starts speaking the language becomes restrained, moderate, not even a hint of euphemism or innuendo, indeed an insistence that the audience must reach out and persuade their political enemies, not hate them. But the warm up is a different matter.

A local pastor kicks off the proceedings. Beck - and the other speakers - he claims, "will be speaking for God": a claim Beck is not around to hear and will later contradict. Not only this, but Beck and others are the target of unspecified people who would like to kill them, the pastor insists: hence, we the audience must pray for their safety.

Next the compere, who says that America is under siege from more than just al-Qaeda:

"Today we're not only being attacked by terrorists but by those who believe in different principles: our children are being indoctrinated with liberal views on a daily basis."

And consider this, from an Iraq-style deck of "wanted cards" on sale in the sparsely populated exhibition space: a picture of Barack Obama, framed with the legend:

"Trust me. I am not a Kenyan born, lying, arrogant Muslim communist that hates America - really I'm not: Barack Hussein Obama, President USA, Socialist/Communist . The Ultimate Race Card. Done in 2102," complete with the caveat: "This is not a quotation of this person merely a funny anecdotal statement."

(See the full set here.)

The warm up for Beck is Republican Congressional candidate Jackie Walorsky. She declares ideological war on the "progressives" and warns she will vote for a law to assert "states' sovereignty" against the Federal government, should she beat her Democratic opponent.

This is the Tea Party movement in full swing, three weeks after its march on Washington. It is clearly at a political crossroads: its leaders trying to channel it onto the battlefield of mainstream electoral politics and media spin, its members still minded towards the political equivalent of asymmetric warfare with the establishment.

At his Washington rally Beck had mixed political oratory with lengthy meditations on the greatness of George Washington, the power of religious belief. Afterwards he is said to have been self critical, and vowed to focus much more on the religious message alone.

In Angola, Indiana - in a less than full sports hall at a local university - this is what he did.

Beck spoke for one hour thirty minutes, to an audience of about 2,000 paying up to $125 (£80) a seat. Having been whipped up by the previous speakers, and videos eliding images of D-Day with 9/11 and Fallujah, they were now whipped down by Glenn Beck.

His website, TheBlaze.com had already warned followers to desist from wearing historical costumes and toting self-scrawled banners open to the accusation of bigotry. So the crowd were mainly wearing Beck t-shirts ($15) and, some, beatific smiles.

Here's the summary of Beck's speech: Miracles are coming (he means this literally not metaphorically). We've achieved a lot by putting Tea Party candidates in the front seat for 2 November but now we have to go further and stop haranguing our opponents, also looking crazy on the streets. America's problems started in 1915 (ish) with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who attempted to DESTROY (Beck writes in in capitals on a whiteboard) Americans' "faith, history and Constitution". George Washington was the greatest human being ever, after Jesus Christ. A number of anecdotes are recounted from Washington's life, of questionable relevance to the matter under discussion. Whenever Beck discusses Washington he bursts into tears, which he always manages to quickly stem by returning to the theme of bashing the "progressives" and their pernicious doctrine of "social justice".

Beck here is cutting against the instincts of the audience: the only real standing ovation moments come on the two or three occasions when he lets fly the rhetoric of "take our country back from the progressives and communists" variety. For the most part he is not only trying to damp the enthusiasm but also confront the almost totally white, over-45, Christian, small-town audience with the limitations of their current strategy. He also insists, tellingly, that they should "love their enemies not hate them" and that they should not claim to speak on God's behalf but understand that God speaks on theirs.

For this reason the audience is for the most part subdued. Remembering this is America, where a 30 second TV commercial is considered long, this feeling of ennui grows towards the end of the 90 minutes Beck is onstage. There are looks of puzzlement. But the seasoned political operators in the audience are not puzzled.

Coming in the same week Sarah Palin called for "unity" in the Republican Party, the depoliticisation of Glenn Beck's rallies, together with his move against the Tea Party's street image, signals the intent to harness the movement within the confines of mainstream party politics.

The only overt policy passage in Beck's speech was this: "Private is always better than public: I'd rather go to a private hospital than a public one; send my kids to a private school than a public school; use a private toilet (pause for laughter) than a public toilet..."

In urging a return to charity, and sacrifice, Beck is not slow to give this a sharp political edge as well. He warns his followers: "You may have to give up your pension plan, your social security, so that the next generation is not burdened with debt."

Half a mile away in fact, in the "protest area" designated by the police, about 20 local opponents of Glenn Beck held placards saying "Hate is not an American value".

But there was no hate in the speech I heard. And there was very little politics. In the process of becoming the figurehead for the American right, Beck has found new depths within his own personality and "got religion" even more than he had it before. The ideological heavy lifting is being done by the warm-up speakers and by the paraphernalia vendors.

His relationship with George Washington remains in a state of evolution: in the DC march he claimed he "knew there was another George Washington in the crowd" before bursting into tears.

This time he told the story of Washington's attempt to head-off a military coup against Congress: "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind, in the service of my country". Then burst into tears.

If Glenn Beck were on the psychiatrists' couch, not a platform in front of a paying audience, the analyst might ask why his thoughts and emotions seem to come spontaneously round to Washington again and again ("I see him in my mind's eye," says Beck, and looks at a space in front of him as if, indeed, the man in the wig and stockings could soon appear there).

Could it be that Beck believes he himself is destined to play a similar role? He insists not.

Decoded, this is what I think he is trying to communicate. We've come a long way: changed the game; become power-brokers in the Republican Party - but we have to become less extreme, look less unusual, reach out and make alliances with the non-devout right and conservative Democrats. And in the process of doing this we've got to drive hatred and extremism out of our speech. And we need a powerful and selfless leader to enact a second American revolution that breaks free of Wall Street, social justice, "progressives" and go back to the Constitution of 1776.

Beck says repeatedly that the "liberal media" does not understand the Tea Party movement: darkness cannot comprehend light, as he puts it. I think this has been true up to now - the mainstream US media constantly under-estimates the momentum behind the grassroots right.

But in choosing to become an essentially religious moralist on his public speaking tour, rather than letting fly with both barrels at the politicians as he does on TV, Beck becomes easier to categorise - because there are a lot of other TV evangelists with similar views on social morality and economics. Take away the wit and barb, the unashamed populist rhetoric that made him a TV superstar, and he is in a crowded market.

I joined the line to shake his hand, afterwards, as a way to get a question to him on camera (he's not doing any interviews).

Does he want to be the leader of this movement?

No, was the gist of the answer.

"I am a reminder," he insisted.

My reports on the failure of the fiscal stimulus, the growing poverty in America and the radicalisation of US politics will be shown on Newsnight in October.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    In the Special Relationship BBC drama after his Chicago speech 70% of Americans wanted Blair as their President. Which sums them up. They buy all that 'Christian morality even if it kills you' stuff.

    The USA was built upon the law of Christian Supremacy which gave the right to any Christian to deprive the 'heathen' of land and goods. This still goes on today [see the reports of the Western Shoshone and the State land grabs].

    The Puritans left the uk because it wasn't 'pure enough' and needed a new land in which to establish the divine right of Christians to rule through military means. The USA is a crusader state where the right to bear arms is part of the crusader toolkit.

  • Comment number 2.

    An underlying motivation for these people is the fact that the USA has a black president and there are many closet racists in this movement. Ultimately I do not see them succeeding in capturing America. Have faith!

  • Comment number 3.

    Sounds like they should all sit down and have a nice cup of tea. Soothes the nerves, what, what! As dear old King George III would have said. All that rebellion, and for what?

    It seems to me that US politics is in reverse to ours. Funny that!

    This ranting of which you speak rather reminds me of the paranoid right which landed the Republicans with Goldwater as their candidate. However, the liberals were a lot stronger then as was the US economy.

    I think we are seeing a genuine stirring of a political change which has still a long way to run. The idea of fiscal stimulus has become rather blunted in the US for the simple reason that none have worked as well as was claimed. I am not going to say they didn't work for the simple reason that affairs could be a whole lot worse than they are now.

    This is reaction, pure and simple to the economic annihilation of a social class who feel, perhaps rightly, that big government has abandoned them. The tragedy is that the emotional resource they have fallen back on is an eclectic mix of concepts that will also fail them.

    George Washington has been dead two hundred years, God as they choose to define Him has been dead perhaps for not quite as long. These people are stuck in a time-warp which forbids them from taking control of their own lives. The change will come with the realisation that they don't need intermediaries from within the system to say words for them. They can begin to speak with their own words about their experience.

    Perhaps they could even breath life back into God and put him to good work like the Pilgrim Fathers and their ilk did. Useful chap, God. Just don't give Him big ideas that He is some sort of supreme being.

  • Comment number 4.

    1. At 4:50pm on 20 Sep 2010, jauntycyclist wrote:

    "The Puritans left the uk because it wasn't 'pure enough' and needed a new land in which to establish the divine right of Christians to rule through military means."

    Some think they might have left because their revolution in England failed.

    Some ask why their most special relationship today with Israel, and why so many Puritans took Hebrew names, why their mortal enemy after WWII became Stalinist USSR and why Catholics got such a poor deal (e.g. being depicted as Italian thugs/Mafiosa) e.g.in Hollywood.

    Maybe 'special relationship' means just that? Could it be that Middle Eastern nations (and their allies) appreciate something that most of us do not and that we are biased?

    https://www.shalomjerusalem.com/heritage/heritage18.htm

    https://www.christianity-revealed.com/cr/files/puritansweremorejewishthanp
    rotestants.html


    Tea Party = anarchists.

    Remember the original "No Taxation Without Representation" by the Bostonians?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_taxation_without_representation

    At the time, only 3% of men in England had the vote. What the Colonists wanted amounted to anarchism not representative democracy, and in the end, they got it. Today, they are now paying for their rebellion, but most don't see how.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/09/delaware_to_planet_earth_the_g.html

    I suggest they really are getting dumber and dumber over there, but there's no telling them, just like there's no telling defiant kids.

    It's really not surprising that the USA is in trouble if you just think about it, but what is surprising is how much serious BBC Newsnight has been giving this anarchistic, populist, nonsense. Recent generations here and there are notable for the extent to which they've collectively embraced their own downfall. Why is this so?

    "A recovering alcoholic and drug addict, Beck has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. By 1994, Beck was suicidal, and imagined shooting himself to the music of his fellow Washingtonian, Kurt Cobain.....

    Beck has described himself as a conservative with libertarian leanings Among his core values Beck lists personal responsibility, private charity, the right to life, freedom of religion, limited government......."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Beck


  • Comment number 5.

    I'm a HUGE fan of Glenn Beck's! He's the only one to speak out against President Hussein Obama of the US. It has nothing to do with the colour of his skin :p

  • Comment number 6.

    3. At 6:35pm on 20 Sep 2010, stanilic wrote:
    Sounds like they should all sit down and have a nice cup of tea. Soothes the nerves, what, what! As dear old King George III would have said. All that rebellion, and for what?

    It seems to me that US politics is in reverse to ours. Funny that!

    This ranting of which you speak rather reminds me of the paranoid right which landed the Republicans with Goldwater as their candidate. However, the liberals were a lot stronger then as was the US economy.

    Goldwater may have been on the far right economically, but he believed that matters such as religion, sexuality and abortion were private matters outside of the jurisdiction of govemrnment. Therefore to the tea party idiots, Goldwater would probably be an 'evil heathen communist' or some other ridiculous slander.

  • Comment number 7.

    Crumbs, on the evidence presented by Paul, it looks like the States will have its own insurgency to deal with before too long.

    Well, its an ill wind and all that, at least it may distract them from creating other peoples insurgencies if they have one of their own.

    There is almost a kind of poetic symetry to that outcome described above....the hand of God maybe?

    I wonder what Glen Beck would make of that.

  • Comment number 8.

    Noam Chomsky in a debate ( the footage is on youtube, can't remember exactly when or where it was) showed sympathy with some of the followers of the Tea Party movement, and made the point that the left should be speaking up on issues such as unemployment, poverty, economic insecurity etc.

    Instead, he feels that these ordinary people have ended up in the arms of right wing libertarians with an evangelist twist. I think he has a point, but before people draw parallels between the Tea Party and the BNP need to realise that, while on social matters there is overlap, economically the BNP actually was arguing with an economically nationalist philosophy, while the Tea Party adheres to extreme free market libertarian values.

    There are undoubtedly many racists and bigots who follow the Tea Party, as there are in the BNP, but the left really need to develop a narrative that offers support and hope to ordinary working class people who have been left in a much worse of position after the embrace of free market extreme capitalism by countries like the US and UK.

    It is a shame that while these debates are going on, no one is questioning the real reason for the proliferation of such populist groups that tend to scapegoat soft targets and blame them for all economic and social ills. The main problem is the system of capitalism, which has created great global inequalities, ecological destruction and has led to ethnic conflicts as well.

    As Lenin said, Imperialism was the highest stage of capitalism, and now, it is the capitalist system that is creating the growing resentment towards immigrants and migrant workers. For example, many ordinary working class people are angry with immigrants for undercutting wages, and there has been a tendency of people in the UK to abuse call centre workers abroad for stealing British jobs.

    This is grossly unfair on the immigrants who, ultimately, are as much a victim of the vile capitalist system as the white working class. The ire should be (and is beginning to) directed at the PRIVATE corporations, who offshore for the purposes of taking advantage of low wages and disorganised labour in many third world countries, so that they can accrue greater profits. And in a Capitalist system, this is the overriding aim, and according to Freidmanites, this is all that we should expect corporations to concentrate on. No concerns about workers' welfare, on environmental protection, on social obligations etc.

    This situation leads to workers being pitted against workers, and leads to disunity amongst the working classes, and can potentially lead to the proliferation of far right parties, who argue on a far right populist line, and claim that nationalism is the cure to all economic and social problems. The capitalist classes don't have a problem with this, because it obfuscates the real issues. It is easy to blame migrant workers, but the issue isn't with them, it is with the private companies who are behaving in a way as to sustain the capitalist system. However, what is good for the capitalist system is bad for ordinary people, in all countries. This is why Marx said, "Workers of all countries, unite", because if we divide, and start scapegoating people who are different from us, we let the main target, the apologists for the capitalist system, off the hook.

    We will only have world peace, economic security, environmental sustainability if we have a communist world order, but whereas the USSR suffered from being ruled by autocrats, the communist system must be democratic in nature, with ordinary people having a big say in the way the workplace is organised, in terms of what we produce, how much and for whom. This is the only rational system that will prevent economic and environmental disaster. People will only consume what they need, and they can enjoy the fruits of their labour in proportion to how much work they put in. In this way, the age old problem of economic scarcity is solved, and the pending ecological disaster caused by over-consumption is settled.

    Trade will be carried out, but instead of a free trade evangelist organisation like the WTO being the regulator, it will be replaced by a FAIR trade organisation, that ensures any trade deal between two countries is such that no group or person in either country is made less well off as a result of the transaction. Moreover, the good or service traded must conform to rigid environmental standards, and the organisation will ensure that the product was made by workers fairly reimbursed for their efforts.

    This sort of change will not come about overnight, but it must happen if we are to achieve the sort of world the majority of people all over the world want. A world free of unfulfilled desires, free of cutthroat competition, of scarcity leading to a Darwinian fight for resources, of racism and xenophobia, or social and community tensions. Only when all countries adhere to a truly democratic system of socialism, eventually morphing into communism, can this Utopian world become a reality.

  • Comment number 9.

    No 5, of course I am deeply re-assured by your assertion that race has nothing to do with it!!

  • Comment number 10.

    "5. At 7:50pm on 20 Sep 2010, Mistress76uk wrote:
    I'm a HUGE fan of Glenn Beck's! He's the only one to speak out against President Hussein Obama of the US."

    Is anarchism good for (your) business?

    Is it possible that all of the media endorsement of dysfunctional people (and there have been many in recent decades) is subversion? Do those who do this realise the consequences or are they just happy to be edgy and take the money?

    If you wanted to wreck another political system, would you risk military retaliation by doing so militarily, or would you put your money and resources into bringing it down from within? Why have so many incompetent people in the public sector been promoted?

    Many people ask this. Was it to destroy the public sector?

    "8. At 9:39pm on 20 Sep 2010, SlightChange wrote:
    Noam Chomsky in a debate ( the footage is on youtube, can't remember exactly when or where it was) showed sympathy with some of the followers of the Tea Party movement, and made the point that the left should be speaking up on issues such as unemployment, poverty, economic insecurity etc."

    Chomsky is an anarchist. That puts him on the right not left. He will support the Tea Party because it too is anarchist. Please try to see through the fog laid down by anarchists in recent decades. They are all in favour of free enterprise not the state. It's very simple.

  • Comment number 11.

    ARMAGEDDON SENTIMENTAL OVERDUE

    War, religion and abuse of power, will always be the hallmark of the Ape Confused by Language. The problem has been a quiescent period on planet earth, during which agriculture allowed fixed settlements, this allowed an industrial revolution, then globalised communication and migration followed. None of this can a limited hunter/gatherer mentality cope with. We do have the knowledge to make a paradigm shift that might resolve the problem, but we lack the wisdom to apply it. Ho hum.

    We are told a blast from the Sun is overdue. We are told the Yellowstone super volcano is overdue. I reckon we are overstayed.

    Not long now . . .

  • Comment number 12.

    Did you know that Glen Beck is already regularly on British TV via Fox - Channel 509 on your Sky Box - and Sky is about to be swollowed whole by New Corp, giving Beck's main backer control and access to terrestrial FreeView as well via Sky News?

    Clearly Murdoch wants Beck to get airtime and his known public political views are clearly on the free market side of politics, so should we allow News Corp to take control of Sky and potentially use it as a mouthpiece for thsi type of politics?



  • Comment number 13.

    I hate it when journalists abuse their power to influence their readers/viewers opinions by telling one small part of the story while deliberately omitting the rest. That is what I sense here, forgive me if I'm wrong.

    For instance, choosing to report on the extremely stupid things said by the pastor, Beck, and company in this article instead of including the saner things which likely formed the bulk of their arguments (even the pastor's).

    It's journalism like this that makes the entire media untrustworthy. And it is imperative that those of us living in democratic societies have reliable, objective news sources.

  • Comment number 14.

    #13 - you will have to suspend judgement until you see my main video report, which airs in October. However the reason I reported the things the Pastor et al said is because they form a "frame" for Beck, whose views I think I reported here accurately, if a bit abbreviated since he spoke for 90 minutes. The key point is there is tension between the instincts of the movement and some of its leaders now. I am trying to understand this movement, and spent a lot of time also speaking to supportive lawmakers, members of the public etc and you will hear all of that when the report airs. I cannot agree with your claim that this journalism is untrustworthy. I agree its imperative that we have reliable objective news sources and I am trying to provide that. Cheers Paul.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mason wrote: "America's problems started in 1915 (ish) with Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson"

    I'm fairly certain Beck's problem with Teddy Roosevelt is his trust-busting.

    Christine O'Donnell said something similar at the Values Voter Summit: "The golden arches went up in Moscow, and here on our own land, family businesses became national chains: Walmart, Home Depot. Only in America could that happen."

    This is my biggest beef with the Tea Party. Both Beck and O'Donnell glorify the actions of companies like Walmart which eliminate many small businesses and replace reasonably good-paying jobs with minimum-wage ones with no benefits. Libertarians and the Tea Party are birds of a feather, desperately wishing for a return to the good old days of the 1800s with robber barons making buckets of money and the unwashed masses being ersatz serfs.

    Mason could also have written about the Tea Party's hatred of unions. Michele Bachman said at the Values Voter Summit "Thou shalt not covet what does not belong to us," referring to the automotive unions who, she claims, destroyed GM, Ford, and Chrysler with their demands. Those unions certainly went too far, but I see the same thing with today's corporate executives earning tens of millions of dollars for below-average performance. The Tea Party decries coveting by unions, but recommends coveting by corporations. I fail to see the difference.

    watriler wrote: "there are many closet racists in this movement"

    Liberals claim that anyone who disagrees with them is a racist and conservatives claim that anyone who disagrees with them is unpatriotic/un-American. Neither group has anything of value to say and therefore they both resort to epithets.

    https://saucymugwump.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 16.

    #8 SlightChange

    Well said!

    Capitalism is the enemy, not immigrants or any other scapegoat.

  • Comment number 17.

    14. At 01:23am on 21 Sep 2010, Paul Mason Economics Editor wrote:
    #13 - you will have to suspend judgement until you see my main video report, which airs in October.


    I have nothing more than a Blog name to inform me, but there seem to be two counter views here; one from a BBC visiting reporter, and one (possibly) from a person who lives in the USA.

    One telling the other (and all readers) to suspend judgement until the complete picture... in October... puts what is written here, now, in context seems less than encouraging.

    Though Ms. Boaden might approve.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/09/impartiality_is_in_our_genes.html

    Sadly, some may be less inspired, especially by such admissions as using personally selected editorial (possibly 'a bit abbreviated' in the edit suite more one way to another to... 'taste') snippets as 'a frame', which sounds like 'interpreting events' to 'enhance the narrative'. Poorly constructed frames can seriously undermine one's appreciation of the full picture.

    Equally what is 'thought' accurate, or what cannot be agreed with, or what is cheerily trying to be provided are hardly of objective value, if the dispute is already over what is chosen to be factual. Especially whilst admitting to still be on a path to understanding. Disgorging now is little more than views over news.


  • Comment number 18.

    "15. At 02:20am on 21 Sep 2010, saucymugwump wrote..:

    This is my biggest beef with the Tea Party. Both Beck and O'Donnell glorify the actions of companies like Walmart which eliminate many small businesses and replace reasonably good-paying jobs with minimum-wage ones with no benefits. Libertarians and the Tea Party are birds of a feather, desperately wishing for a return to the good old days of the 1800s with robber barons making buckets of money and the unwashed masses being ersatz serfs."

    A very good post, but one which will be largely wasted upon a nation of the anarchistic arrested-developed (child-like), I fear. Populations, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been dumbed down since WWII through hedonism and neglect of science which has so positively skewed the gene pool that, en masse, most don't have the attention span to cope with anything more than epithets. Glenn Beck is an example. Try telling an inner city school teacher how to deal with just one of these in a class of 20 (the population frequency) to get the bigger picture.

    Practically, Social Inclusion - subversion.

    Pay particular attention below to Rawls and his 'Difference Principle'
    noting how, over the decades, through 'the veil of ignorance' liberalism has egregiously favoured one numerically small group in particular at the expense of the interests of the majority (if one simply applies The Null Hypothesis, i.e observed vs expected frequencies).. :

    "Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions:
    first, they are to be attached to positions and offices open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity; and second, they are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society'


    John Rawls 1993;1996;2005 p. 6 Political Liberalism

    https://mises.org/media/2070

    It's an anarchistic (libertarian) site.

  • Comment number 19.

    Americans have been wowed by flim-flam since the days of Barnum and Bailey.

    Every small town in America used to have evangelists riding in on a horse & cart purporting to have brought a cure for all ills or the knowledge to make the Heavens open and water the crops.

    Showmen still continue to dominate America whether it be in Hollywood, in the CEOs of Wall Street and Silicon Valley or in Congress.

    Knowing how to do in America is not as important as being able to put on a good show.

  • Comment number 20.

    12. richard bunning wrote:
    '....potentially use it as a mouthpiece for this type of politics?'

    And what 'politics' is that, Richard? 'Politics' with which you don't agree? Well, last time I heard, it's called 'democracy'. I just love modern day 'liberals' and their 'tolerance'. Progressivism at it's very best - destroy those with whom you don't agree or, if you can't, ban them. The BBC try to do the former all the time.

    And as for Murdoch? Well, I have a choice. I can cough up my monthly subscription to watch Sky, including Fox, or I don't. It's up to me. It's called 'free choice'. But then I wouldn't expect you to see the difference between Murdoch's output for which I pay freely or the 'licence fee', sorry tax, to pay for the output of the BBC. If I don't pay that, I have the threat of prison instead.

    But I've no doubt, that's exactly how you like it because you agree with the political dogma pumped out on the BBC every day.

    Give me 'free choice' every time. And tell me, who's the real 'liberal'?

  • Comment number 21.

    OR TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY (#19)

    Integrity and perceptiveness are attributes ONLY of maturity. In an immature world, the needy child tends to sell snake oil to the lost ones. (That's our Tony!)

    We - The Ape Confused by Language - 'don't do' (can't do) complexity. We are designed for low-tech survival, against the odds.

    Approaching our ills at the level of money, commerce, technology etc, is too shallow a pitch, but the Globopoly Board has been printed-up in bright colours and embraced by our 'leaders' with such squares marked on it. They will play 'within the lie' and we shall 'take our medicine' - probably till cataclysm arrives.

    Oh - it's all going awfully well.

  • Comment number 22.

    20. At 10:46am on 21 Sep 2010, Bluematter

    To say that you prefer to watch a news channel that on the whole reinforces your current views is a reflection of the very problem you complain about. Everyone should keep their brains rich in working grey matter so should make sure they watch a selection of viewpoints. Do not blindly let yourself get blue (or red) matter clogging your mind.

    It would be extremely naive to think that any channel is free of bias, you will just be more comfortable to watch anything that conforms to your own bias.

    There is no need to pay any subscription for Sky News as it is available on freeview. Other sources are available. There are loads of news channels on satellite (and online) that you may view without any subscription. Have a look at some of them for a refreshing change.

    Blinkers off. If you don't like what you see leave them on most of the time, but permanent blinkers lead to tunnel vision.

  • Comment number 23.

    Wow - Paul actually reads the replies!

    Paul - I'll look out for your report. Would be good to get a serious report on Beck instead of The Daily Show. It still feels like a storm in a tea cup to me but I'll see if your report can convince me it's not a waste of oxygen.

    At least your report on Beck is about a relatively weighty figure, as opposed to last weeks BBC coverage of that hillbilly pastor and his 50-strong congregation. That is a serious waste of license payer's money. Although the BBC coverage was made legit as they made it meta-reporting ("look at all the press!"), a favourite strategy of the BBC when covering a rubbish story they are ashamed of. How clever!

    ps had to laugh when you said the BBC was free and all the replies you got. Bet you won't do that again :-)

    pps how are the BBC journo pension negotiations going? You are going to strike over the conference and spending review. That is little better than the airlines striking over half-term. Only as you will see your strike will not stop the world turning. In fact I bet most will not notice/care. Although I would like to see a BBC reporter reporting on BBC cuts. Poignant.

    ppps Today programme had some stuff on the Lib Dems today - attempt to undermine their support for cuts. Didn't really land any punches though, despite their best efforts. Less than a month now - hurry!

  • Comment number 24.

    TOFF-SPEAK DAVE NEEDS MORE PERCEPTIVE ADVISORS

    Dave is still coming out with 'prop'ly' when ordinary folk say it properly. Only toffs with a few mil and mummy and daddy suffering seven bedrooms and a lot of acres, say 'prop'ly'. they are not, generally, compassionate anything but they are Conservatives.


    Our Dave has been prop’ly prepared
    His high status is prop’ly declared
    Just so prop’ly turned out
    Like a new-badged Boy Scout
    Prop’ly winning ‘cos he prop’ly dared.

  • Comment number 25.

    "21. At 11:01am on 21 Sep 2010, barriesingleton wrote:

    Integrity and perceptiveness are attributes ONLY of maturity. In an immature world, the needy child tends to sell snake oil to the lost ones."

    Have you really asked yourself 'What is to be done' if being immature is the consequence of being handed out a poor hand at the great hand out of genes? Or do you think there is some snake-oil out there that can correct that in schools etc?

    It looks to me like you are able to describe what is, but have not been able to grasp it. Nor will you be instructed any more than Mimpromptu etc. This, it seems to me, is the true price of freedom..

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/found-genes-that-make-kids-smart/story-e6frg6nf-1225926421510

  • Comment number 26.

    In #19 tawse57 wrote: "Americans have been wowed by flim-flam since the days of Barnum and Bailey"

    You sound like you have traveled and/or lived in the USA. Your post made me chuckle because it is correct.

    The concept of snake oil is alive and well here. The latest incarnation of this is the anti-vaccine movement, with one of the leaders being Andrew Wakefield, someone I wish had stayed on your side of the pond. This movement has now split into two groups, the original "vaccines cause autism" and the new "vaccines are against god." I referenced both of these groups in my blog posts "Vaccines and stupid Christian tricks" and "Flushing myths down the toilet."

    Trying to stay within Mason's topic, many Americans are so pro-libertarian that they decry any government regulation, even ones that protect the general health. Two examples are Chinese imports and vitamin supplements. In the former case, the Beck / O'Donnell crowd want to allow unfettered imports regardless of the quality of those products. Damn the melamine, full speed ahead! In the latter case, I have had conversations with people who claim that government should not regulate any nutritional supplements because "they can tell which ones are good and which ones are bad." This, of course, is a ludicrous assumption unless one graduated with a degree in medical laboratory science; the people with whom I spoke did not graduate with any type of degree.

    tawse57's comment "Knowing how to do in America is not as important as being able to put on a good show" is reflected in both the left and the right. Thomas Friedman, a left-wing NYT writer, wrote that outsourcing is "desirable and unstoppable" and that Americans should "create value through leadership" and "sell personality." Yes, that's the ticket, we will all sell Chinese imports to each other from the backs of our pickup trucks.

    Our evangelists no longer ride in on a horse and cart -- now it is usually a Cadillac Escalade, and they are not always religious -- but the end result is the same.

    https://saucymugwump.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 27.

    Hate to be pedantic, but article referred to "to the Constitution of 1776."

    1776 was the Declaration of Independence, which was itself not secured until 1781. Constitution was not written until 1787, and not ratified until the following year.

  • Comment number 28.

    #26. saucymugwump: -

    Yes, I have lived and worked out in Silicon Valley. I have some stories to tell - lol.

    At first I thought it was just me as I watched 'town-hall' meetings full of thousands of employees whooping and cheering to the showmanship put on by their CEOs and VPs.

    Some will were genuine, many were, um, superb spreaders of verbal manure but all, without doubt, were brilliant showmen and salesmen. They give the impression that they were trying to better humanity but, like all flim-flams, they were in it, IMPO, for themselves. Aren't all flim-flam people like that?

    I can think of several well-known Silicon Valley based companies which actually employed, allegedly, Scientology-style techniques to get their messages across - and they work.

    You need to work and live in America to understand Americans. Brits tend to make the mistake that becaue we share a language and, in parts, a heritage that we are all the same. True, we have more in common than we do not but you need to experience the full range of Americans to even begin to understand them and their country.

    As much as I love Americans, and I certainly think the majority are well-intentioned good people, the longer I spent there the more I realised I was a European... and yet, at times, there is a longing to return. That Scientology stuff must have really worked on me.

    Many Americans still look at the World with a child-like wonderment - and that is both good and naive.

  • Comment number 29.

    #8 SlightChange

    I agree with much of the points raised in your post.

    Looking specifically at the issue of the Tea Party and unrepresented working classes, you'll have to say that there isn't much else for them to support. The vast majority of Americans do not know what Socialism is - hell, they even think the Huffington Post is a far left news-site! The Democrats are seen to represent what Beck and his ilk call the 'liberal elite'. You don't need to be an expert on America to know that the elite is far from liberal (that's even using the American use of the term).

    Only working class Americans can help, not foreigners like us. Like a man who beats his wife - it's best not to intervene to help the victim because the victim will turn on you!

    #10 tabblenabble01

    I'm unsure if you know your Left or Right. Although there are many types of Anarchism, most of whom are on the Left. Do Tea Party supporters believe that 'property is theft'? And for the record, I believe Chomsky described himself as a type of socialist libertarian.

  • Comment number 30.

    #4 Tabble

    Some ask why their most special relationship today with Israel, and why so many Puritans took Hebrew names, why their mortal enemy after WWII became Stalinist USSR and why Catholics got such a poor deal (e.g. being depicted as Italian thugs/Mafiosa) e.g.in Hollywood.

    I think the main reason for America's special relationship with Israel is that She sees herself in Israel. Israel is pretty much reliving America's settler-colonialist past. George Washington called America an 'infant empire', even Jefferson predicted the natives and Latino would be swept away by the superior race of Anglo-Saxons. The Israeli right-wing make no secret of their desire for Israel's borders to stretch from the Med to Jordan.

    Getting rid of the native population is done so in the name of God (or Providentialism). It's God's will that America will stretch from ocean to ocean; we are returning to the land that God promised us.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think the main reason for the US's relationship with Israel is, something that many Brits fail to comprehend, the enormous numbers of Americans who take the Bible literally.

    Yes, if you hang around New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco you will meet the type of liberals, especially within the US Media, that dceilar so correctly describes... but between both Coasts is the heart of America and the much-talked about Bible-belt.

    For many Americans there is a real belief that if Israel falls then so will begin the end of the World.

    Cue R.E.M.

  • Comment number 32.

    To AnonymousCalifornian (#13)

    Sensing your all too obvious right-wing bent here, in answer to your statement:

    "And it is imperative that those of us living in democratic societies have reliable, objective news sources."

    Who - 'Fair-and-Balanced' Fox News ?!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    In #13 AnonymousCalifornian wrote: it is imperative that those of us living in democratic societies have reliable, objective news sources.

    We have those, but not necessarily in the country you wish and not all topics in one place. Like Englishmaninvegas, I suspect you believe that Fox News is a reliable source. Fox News is one of the worst sources because virtually every show is transmitted via a host with a known agenda. The same is true of the NBC networks for the left. Why would you watch news filtered through someone else? That's like being a bird, eating food regurgitated by your mother.

    If you really want objective news, you will need to read many sources. BBC News is one of the best overall sources, but it has blinders on one or two subjects, but I won't say what those are here because I do not want to be 86ed. Der Spiegel (the international English website) is one of the best sources for indepth coverage, but it is not a 24-hour news source, only a magazine. The Telegraph UK is one of the best sources for news regarding Asia, especially China. Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty (the website) is an outstanding source for the countries of the former Soviet Union, and Iran. Deutsche Welle is certainly too kind to the current government -- understandable given that it is owned by that government -- but its weekly video-magazine European Journal is most interesting. France24 offers another point of view and often has news not seen elsewhere. And for specific topics, C-SPAN Book TV (available online) has author interviews and coverage of authors giving an hour-or-so lecture on their latest book. There are others, but they tend to be country-specific and/or niche players.

    https://saucymugwump.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 34.

    after 10 yrs living/working in the States it was evident that the main capitalist objective was to keep 80% of citizens naive and gullible via TV. movies,advertising - brainwashed to a state of eternal juvenile consumption - eating junk food, watching junk, consuming more technology to perpetuate the state of subliminal "must have that" crap, so that 20% could get very rich indeed.
    Meanwhile the state machinery just does its own thing almost in a parallel universe using christian principles to motivate the voters while locking up more and more rule breakers but allowing guns booze and drugs to proliferate because of the freedoms allowed by the constitution.
    A very weird place with beautiful natural scenery but some very sick people who claim to be educated but believe in the strangest things while banning evolution but rewriting history in Hollywood to make more money from the eternal teenagers who only grow in size but never grow up!

  • Comment number 35.

    In #34 quickstepper wrote: "that 20% could get very rich indeed . . . state machinery just does its own thing almost in a parallel universe using christian principles . . . but allowing guns booze and drugs to proliferate . . . but rewriting history in Hollywood"

    You lived here ten years and those are your conclusions?

    The percentage of "haves" is much lower than 20%, certainly in the low single figures. The USA has a lottery mentality, where everyone dreams of striking it rich, so the system allows brutal capitalism.

    Republicans are the party of evangelical Christianity. Democrats are the party of atheists, not-so-serious Christians, and Muslims. There are a few Christian demagogues on the left, with the best example being Senator John Edwards. He best exemplified the 11th Commandment, "Honor thy mistress." However, it speaks volumes that Jimmy Carter is actually a moderate Christian.

    Booze is harder to acquire than in any European country. Drugs, yes, that's a real problem. As for guns, that is far too complex of an issue to discuss here.

    There are a few movies made by the right, but Hollywood is mostly liberal. Hollywood's biggest sin is creating docudramas and movies allegedly based on fact but in reality fabricated from whole cloth. Most Americans believe that the USA won WWII all by itself mainly due to Hollywood; when you inform them that 80+% of Nazi casualties happened on the Eastern Front, they immediately classify you as a closet-commie.

    Your biggest omission was education, or the lack thereof. Our pathetic education system is the root of our evil.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 36.

    If you read #13 post carefully and without pre-disposition, he is being quite reasonable actualy and not deserving of some of the responses on here for sure.

    ''For instance, choosing to report on the extremely stupid things said by the pastor, Beck, and company in this article instead of including the saner things which likely formed the bulk of their arguments (even the pastor's).''

    ''Forgive me if I am wrong''

    He says that what the pastor etc said were 'extremely stupid'.

    All he is asking for is to also mention the more positive sub-text i.e. the less newsworthy bits ....no headlines in 'pastor speaks 60% of the time about really quire sensible ideas''.

    It is quite bizare, as I have mentioned before here the solution to the USA ills is a lurch to the left. Is it the case that that can only be achived by dressing it up as a radical 'lurch to the right'.

    For those of you yet to watch the USA blockbuster movie SALT, the subtext there is very interesting.


    Fellow posters, please read carefully and dont fall into the trap of America bashing for the sake of it, it is an easy target but the world would be better served by taking care with these things. I doubt #13
    will be back now as all you have done is re-inforce his tentative view as expressed in his post.

  • Comment number 37.

    28. At 4:09pm on 21 Sep 2010, tawse57 wrote:

    "Some will were genuine, many were, um, superb spreaders of verbal manure but all, without doubt, were brilliant showmen and salesmen."

    Hollywood and Wall Street/Madison Avenue feeds upon and supplies pathological narcissism, which is really just another term for 'arrested development'.

    Libertarianism is premised upon this. It was tried in Russia and Germany in the 1920s....... but it didn't work - it was stopped just in time.
    Unless I'm very much mistaken, what we're seeing in the USA today (and maybe here too alas) is what happens when it isn't stopped. Think of the USA as a Red (Trotskyite) Giant.

    29. At 4:25pm on 21 Sep 2010, dceilar wrote:

    "#10 tabblenabble01

    I'm unsure if you know your Left or Right. Although there are many types of Anarchism, most of whom are on the Left. Do Tea Party supporters believe that 'property is theft'? And for the record, I believe Chomsky described himself as a type of socialist libertarian."

    Some people 'believe' they are good singers (see X-Factor).

    You really can't trust anarchists as they have serious identity issues.
    In other words, they have a problem with reality and 'pursuit of truth'.

    Trust me. You are wrong. Learn to judge by behaviour and not self-description in terms of dubious psychological states.


    30. At 4:52pm on 21 Sep 2010, dceilar wrote:

    "even Jefferson predicted the natives and Latino would be swept away by the superior race of Anglo-Saxons."

    He was wrong wasn't he? By 2050, the latter will be under 50% of the US population overall, and heading towards becoming a minority. It's already a minority in New York City (although few appreciate this), and take a look at California.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_California

    One has to look very carefully at how this has been brought about, and at whose hands (demographically speaking). One has to get one's classes and quantifiers right.

    "31. At 5:50pm on 21 Sep 2010, tawse57 wrote:
    I think the main reason for the US's relationship with Israel is, something that many Brits fail to comprehend, the enormous numbers of Americans who take the Bible literally."

    The main reason for the relationship is that Israel still is an outpost in the Middle East just as it was during the Cold War against socialism when the Arab states were aligned with the USSR. Socialism always has been the major threat to American anarchism/banking. It was in the 20s-30s and nothing has changed except the labels.

    https://mises.org/daily/1935

    Note the site and the vilification

  • Comment number 38.

    "They call us....." ....well.... listen for yourself:-

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9019000/9019235.stm

    When you start thinking there's solidarity in populist mass-irrationality, you have a very serious problem on your hands.

    This is grass-roots anarchism (and don't be fooled by Rothbard - this is smoke and mirrors, and it's precisely why this lot had to leave Germany/Austria for more sympathetic lands).

  • Comment number 39.

    Getting the impression that some, in their comfort zone, amongst chums, feels that any straying from the narrative can be easily dealt with by 'You... you.. Daily Mail reader!" or, in US-mode 'You...you Fox News watcher".

    In the absence of much else, that seems a tad thin. Especially from remote commentators or those presuming to know better by having brought their values in to improve those of others for all of a few years.

    But in citing what is 'good', simply by believing it to be so, they are in good company:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/09/impartiality_is_in_our_genes.html

  • Comment number 40.

    NOTHING IMPARTIAL ABOUT INTRUSIVE MUSIC AND VISUALS (#39 link)

    Message for Helen Boaden: The excess of 'edgy fun presentation', impinging on the odd bit of information, during Newsnight, amounts to excessive bias towards the ADHD cohort - going forward.

    Much closer to 'unbalanced' than balance.

  • Comment number 41.

    First they get the rabble roused and then they get them organised.

    Beck, Palin etc. are rounding up the cattle/moose(meese?) in preparation for the elections.
    Obama, who is seen as Leftish, supported the financial system and is still involved with overseas wars which are seen as more Rightish things to do.
    The Republicans have shifted further to the right to compensate.

    This seems to me to be the wrong thing to do, the battle is really over the centre ground and the Republicans by moving Rightwards are alienating themselves from the Centre Leftish who are dissatisfied with the performance of their traditional party (the Democrats) and were potential swing voters


    The Republicans should be giving out the message that they are the only people who can fix the economy.
    The message should be 'the Democrats, nice people that they are, are just not suited to govern whilst the economy is floundering. People can vote Democrat and have pretty flowers if they want when the economy is working but right now you need a Republican to fix it'.



    #23 Ben, when he responds he has to join the moderation queue like everyone else :)

  • Comment number 42.

    the more I see of the tea party and Palin I am reminded of Dr Strangelove and his Nazi rant, in fact listening to these guys Sellars was the moderate....

  • Comment number 43.

    In #28 tawse57 wrote: "Many Americans still look at the World with a child-like wonderment"

    There is certainly some truth in this. However, it is a curious statement from a country with a disdain for the euro, even though today 1.34 dollars buys one euro and 1.56 dollars buys one pound. A few years ago, the latter ratio was 2:1; between 1.3:1 and 1.35:1 seems to be home for the euro. Sure, the PIIGS may yet devastate the EU, but I think that is far less likely than London becoming #3 (or worse) in the investment world, after NY and Shanghai.

    Many Brits and Europeans believe that the average American is ignorant and apathetic regarding the rest of the world. But we have many more options than Brits. If we want sunny beaches, we can go to California, Florida, the American Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the Northern Mariana Islands, all using the dollar. If we want spectacular mountains, we can visit Colorado or Alaska. If we want canyon beauty, we can travel to Utah and Arizona. If we want ersatz UK scenery, we can tour Maine and the Northeast. We do not need a passport to visit any kind of scenery. We can even visit Canada or Mexico with very little bother. I suspect that a lot of British anti-American sniping is latent empire-envy.

    Returning to Mason's topic, many people have denigrated Terry Jones for threatening to burn Korans. He has had his 15 minutes of fame and he will recede into the landscape, after paying the bill for the security nightmare he caused. But Britain has someone with longer lasting fame, especially given that he is, relatively speaking, much more important to the UK than Jones is to the USA. This person is hardly covered at all by BBC News; google on "bbc news Anjem Choudary" and you will see only a lone video interview. Google on "uk Anjem Choudary", however, and you will see articles from many other news outlets, even the left-wing Guardian.

    Bias and ignorance are not streets reserved for Americans.

  • Comment number 44.

    Thank you very much for this post Paul: It's enlightening and chilling at the same time.

    I agree with @31 Tawse57 regarding "....the enormous numbers of Americans who take the Bible literally." (We have them here too of course). The problem is, they pick and choose which bits of the Bible they take notice of, but it does enable many of them to believe that their political views are divinely inspired and approved. Their more or less open aim is to turn the US into a kind of theocracy.

    Fox News gives these people a prominent and very strident voice, and has helped polarise the US dangerously. There may be civil war, and (from my point of view) the nutters my win. Then they will, by force of arms, spread their guns and Jesus message to the rest of us.

  • Comment number 45.

    Allow me to congratulate the BBC, Paul Mason and commentators for delivering astute and timely assessments of that dreadful creature Glenn Beck, his clueless followers and the odious United States. Undoubtedly such insight is the result of having been finally liberated from bigoted Christian superstition, of course there was that little episode in the 20th Century in which the millions and millions died, or were exterminated or tortured or imprisoned or dislocated, along with the unprecedented loss of infrastructure, art, intellectual and financial capital and environmental degradation, but fortunately this was the handy work of secular and atheist governments motivated by social justice; one shutters to think what the havoc the Christian fanatics would have inflicted.

  • Comment number 46.

    It seems more so that we want to assign people to a category so we know how to refer to them. When someone comes along that isn't easily placed into a mold, we're disoriented as to who they really are.

    Of recent note are Glenn Beck and Lady Gaga. Both are square pegs trying to be placed in round holes.

    If you're a round peg, you're interchangeable with everyone else. If you're a square peg, you're someone who needs to be...

  • Comment number 47.

    #43 Saucy

    As you brought up the issue of America's relationship with Europe, there was an artcle written a few months back by Richard Haass who is President of the Council on Foreign Relations called 'Goodbye to Europe'. The main thrust of his argument is that Europe is not violent enough:

    Nato will no longer be the default partner for American foreign policy. Instead, the US will forge coalitions of the willing to deal with specific challenges. These clusters will sometimes include European countries, but rarely, if ever, will the US look to either Nato or the EU as a whole. Even before it began, Europe's moment as a major world power in the 21st century looks to be over.

  • Comment number 48.

    #43

    Since you're commenting on a BBC Newsnight blog, try googling Newsnight Anjem Choudary. ;)

  • Comment number 49.

    dceilar quoted Richard Haass who wrote: "Europe's moment as a major world power in the 21st century looks to be over"

    I suspect Haass is an intellectual, or lack thereof, cousin of Don Rumsfeld. I am quite the opposite of those Europe bashers; I traveled to the UK on vacation last year and I will return some day. My country should worry about China. I find it ironic, in an annoying kind of way, that China is rapidly becoming the world's greatest economic power using the tools that capitalists love to promote.

    In one respect, Haass is correct, "Nato will no longer be the default partner for American foreign policy." But this will be true because China and other countries will represent the main threats. The Soviet Union is gone (though Putin is trying very hard to resurrect it), so NATO is not as relevant.

    The EU exports almost double what the USA exports. China exports to the USA six times what the USA exports to China (in 2008). It is really painful to listen to empty suits in Washington DC tout our manufacturing base; they must be living in the 1960s.

    The EU's problem is that it does not know when to stop. Bulgaria and Romania should not have been allowed in because of their corruption. Many Balkan countries should not be allowed in for the same reason. Turkey does not share any of Europe's values and should therefore not be allowed in. Greece should be expelled from the eurozone, not because it ran into economic trouble, but because it lied about it.

  • Comment number 50.

    43. At 3:17pm on 22 Sep 2010, saucymugwump wrote:

    "I suspect that a lot of British anti-American sniping is latent empire-envy."

    No. It's based on a very sound understanding of its changing demography and economics. The crisis which we are seeing in the USA is a function of its slowly deteriorating population and a failure to listen to those who have been warning about this trend for at least 30 years. Check out ETS to start with and then work backwards. Nobody is pleased to see this, and the UK is not far behind.

  • Comment number 51.

    This is a series of montages about Fox, from a different point of view. If nothing else, it illustrates the divisions:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 52.

    Here's the next one, the best in the series, partly about Beck:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    It is suggesting that right-wing propaganda in the US incites murder, as well as brainwashing people.

  • Comment number 53.

    In #48 GorlagonUK wrote: "Since you're commenting on a BBC Newsnight blog, try googling Newsnight Anjem Choudary"

    Yes, I saw that; that's about the only hit when one googles "bbc news Anjem Choudary." But maybe I'm being unfair; perhaps google's web-spiders cannot crawl through BBC News' website. If I search within BBC News' own website, links to relevant stories are returned.

    My original point was that if BBC News covers a loose cannon like Terry Jones for merely threatening to perform a legal, yet controversial act, it sure as heck better cover someone who predicts that the Queen will be forced to either convert to Islam or leave the country.

  • Comment number 54.

    In #50 tabblenabble01 wrote: "The crisis which we are seeing in the USA is a function of its slowly deteriorating population . . . Check out ETS."

    I don't think the population is deteriorating, just that people are no longer well-educated (maybe that's what you meant). Our educational system collapsed starting around 1970 for many reasons. Most Americans are incapable of critical analysis.

    And then both political parties became beholden to multinational corporations, so we no longer have a choice of economic systems.

    I also do not think Brits quite understand the bipartisan fury over Wall Street bailouts. Admittedly, Americans are confused over the players, but the anger is justified.

    What is ETS: Educational Testing Services?

  • Comment number 55.

    #53

    I find 60 results within the news.bbc.co.uk section of the BBC website in 0.68 seconds via Google. Try this string: anjem choudary site:news.bbc.co.uk.

    In the main www.bbc.co.uk domain, I find 52 in 0.47 seconds.

    Perhaps more your search skills than Google's web spiders?!

    This is not to say that I think BBC news is impartial/objective. Neither is this to say that I even think impartiality is desirable or possible. As other posters have said, I find the best way to form an opinion is to read a variety of biased sources and consider them. Good search skills can certainly help in that endeavour. ;)

  • Comment number 56.

    @51,52

    Oops, sorry I can see that the beeb can't link to those videos for legal (libel) reasons.

    In any situation, over-stating your case is polarising and destructive. This video is worth watching:

    Type Big Lies Fox news Part 4 into the search bar of YouTube.

    This is the least overstated and therefore the best of the uploaders videos.

    It's also worth looking up (again on YouTube) "Glenn Beck Jon Stewart" and "Glenn Beck FDR".

  • Comment number 57.

    "What is ETS: Educational Testing Services?"

    Yes - see their February 2007 report and video, although, this really just endorsed much that others had been labouring for a couple of decades. See PISA and TIMMS too (not to mention your long term SATs and NAEP data). One can't educate the ineducable, and if one over produces these, the economy will slide relative to nations which aren't doing that to themselves. That one is able to correct this via education is just one of those Libertarian myths which most Americans (bankers
    especially) have peddled for far too long in spite of damning evidence to the contrary. The implications are that most of us in Liberal-Democracies have a radically false conception of the nature of education/learning and that false conception has been peddled by a breed of psychologists since the early 60s..

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    Why are they making a joke of this?

    Any president who elects to fight two wars which he doesn't want to pay for and takes a nation from a balanced budget to a record deficit in four years would never have been re-elected by people who care for the nation's health.
    The fact that our previous president won his re-election should tell us that either the voters aren't capable of electing their officials or that they want their nation to fail.

    Glenn Beck has already bought into china, and is banking on the destruction of the american middle class. Their is no reason that this should strike the american people as some sort of joke. Murdoch's campaign on misinforming the american public should not be taken lightly by the nations people nor by the american government,

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    jauntycyclist said:

    "The USA was built upon the law of Christian Supremacy which gave the right to any Christian to deprive the 'heathen' of land and goods. This still goes on today [see the reports of theWestern Shoshone and the State land grabs]."

    NO not "Christian Supremacy" its "Divine Providence" get it straight Not until the 1800s and Manifest Destiny did we(Our government)start to lose its way. Our people are buried all over Europe because we fight for the RIGHTS of others.(WE THE PEOPLE - Not our politicians) We have made mistakes and regret them all, Beck is a Great American that has turned many towards The TRUE HISTORY(good and bad) of our great nation.

    I think we should pull all foreign aid and remove our military from foreign soil. Only after the rest of the world is forced to pay for your entire defense and social programs will you understand SOCIALISM FAILS!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    Mad Nut Colonel....I just know that the Commies have poluted our water supply to make us vote communist..that's why we have to Nuke 'em' apologies Dr Strangelove which is more rational than Tea party wonks...

  • Comment number 63.

    61. At 02:09am on 23 Sep 2010, N1GHT

    We all know from the greater part of the 20th century that Americans prefer isolationist policy.

    Goodbye.

  • Comment number 64.

    Two things to bear in mind if you think you might be insane:

    * overuse of CAPITALS in your posts
    * you like Glenn Beck

    On a more serious note I sure hope America gets it's act together as the fact is we can criticize them because they believe in that right. We will miss them if they become a shadow and China take over. Tonight I sleep safe under American military supremacy!

    ps note I used a zed in criticize - that's my nod to our special relationship ;-)

  • Comment number 65.

    64. At 10:43pm on 23 Sep 2010, Ben wrote:
    Two things to bear in mind if you think you might be insane:

    * overuse of CAPITALS in your posts
    * you like Glenn Beck

    On a more serious note I sure hope America gets it's act together as the fact is we can criticize them because they believe in that right."

    Some Americans seem to think that there is a shrewd political (group) battle in the USA with large groups of foot-soldiers being marshaled against the one time ruling elite. Are they mad or are such charges mere tools of battle?

    I think it's best to stick with observed and expected frequencies and then to try to account for departures from expected in terms of behaviour not intentions. That way, we can avoid dealing with what people say they mean to do, believe, etc etc. As a species, we are not as smart as we like to think. That's why our brightest and best do research, after all. Most of them are quite humble, which makes sense if you think about it.

    The PRC Chinese. They're not so bad you know. They're family people, a bit like Catholics and Muslims. The fastest growing group in the USA are Catholics, see California. Although, sadly, in terms of hegemony, Catholicism is a self-destructive ideology demographically, but one really does need to think through why that is so to see why they are foot-soldiers to their masters..

  • Comment number 66.

    Just a slight correction: The U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787, not 1776.

 

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