Glenn Beck Says Facebook is Cool, No Problem

 The entrance to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where a group of 16 Republican pundits and politicians met with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other top executives on Wednesday. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

The entrance to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where a group of 16 Republican pundits and politicians met with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other top executives on Wednesday. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

San Francisco    So, Mohammed went to the mountain. Supposedly a dozen or so big name conservatives were rolling into Silicon Valley and, more specifically, Facebook’s headquarters to meet with be top brass there to make sure the Facebook news feed and trending stories weren’t being slanted to the left. There was a lot of buildup to this peacekeeping mission before the meeting several days ago, but pretty much radio silence after that.

Somewhat surprisingly, I was sent the report from one of the big names at the summit, our old nemesis, Glenn Beck, dot connector and conspiracy hunter on radio and television. Beck’s report boiled down to the bottom line was, no problem, this is a much ado about nothing, they’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

He reports that between 25 and 30 folks met with Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. He listened to what they had to say, and though being clear that he was a techno-peasant like most of the rest of us, he had listened carefully to his own tech people, and he thought it was one of those things where they were sincere, and it was just one guy with one beef crying that the sky was falling, and not a real problem to his lights. He was clear he had been a long time Facebook fan, and was nothing but positive about Zuckerberg. All of the concerns in the mainstream media about the responsibilities of Facebook as major news source without the proper protocols and accountability to be whispering in the ears and infiltrating the eyes of 1.6 billion, didn’t faze Beck in the least. He was good on all that.

On the other hand, he had some worries he wanted to share, presumably not with the likes of me, but with his conservative readership, that offered an interesting peephole into what the other folks and the room might have been saying. And, what his compadres were saying was worrisome to Beck, because they sounded like a much liberals to our guy, Glenn.

Reading between the lines some of the fire breathers must have seen a meeting with the big whoops of Facebook as a chance to put their noses under the tent and convert this dustup into a permanent presence. They had demands about diversity, Mormon representation, a 6-month training program for the employees so they understood conservatism, etc, etc. In Beck’s words,

It was like affirmative action for conservatives. When did conservatives start demanding quotas AND diversity training AND less people from Ivy League Colleges. I sat there, looking around the room at ‘our side’ wondering, ‘Who are we?’ Who am I?

He also mentioned some folks that must not have left the meeting in the same “happy place” that Beck had found, like the CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee and some other people unknown to me.

But, before you think, wow, Glenn Beck, what might a meeting have been like where he was the voice of reason, the more worrisome thing to take away is not Beck’s astute note on the similarity of demands from any aggrieved group, but the fact that Beck felt at home with the political philosophy being expressed in Silicon Valley and at Facebook, the sort of libertarian, conservative anarchism that permeates the space. As Beck said elsewhere in his piece,

I understand why conservatives are suspicious of Silicon Valley. It can feel a lot like the main stream media. But I’ve told you many times that I feel at home in Silicon Valley. I love the energy. These are people who want to innovate and disrupt, they want the government to stop regulating their businesses, they want small business to succeed, they value personal responsibility, etc. Why they are liberal? I don’t know, but in general, they’re not Progressives, at least not the folks I met with today (though I’m sure there were a few).

For anyone who thinks Silicon Valley and tech-world is somehow a bastion of progressive folks because you like your IPhone and your Amazon Prime and your Facebook, Beck is giving you the skinny. He’s “sure there were a few” out there, but he’s still looking. He observed that the real problem that under-girded the meeting and this incident is that there was no trust between conservatives and Facebook. Progressives should have the same caution and reserve trust, and perhaps like Beck, even judgement, no matter how much we love the tools. These people are scary.


Glenn Beck Just Wants to be Loved

beck190New Orleans   In the land of the bizarre there was a brief interview with Glenn Beck, radio personality and rabid right winger in the Times recently.   Finally, we can get a better sense of what really drives Beck:  he just wants to be loved.

            He is one big, smiley lump of deeply felt grievances over real and imagined slights and in no time there was a torrential list of them cascading off the page.

  • Al Gore supposedly didn’t talk to him about his interest in buying Current TV, according to Beck sending a message back that he “didn’t want to sell” to Beck. 
  • Beck on the other hand both believes that Gore sold Current for twice what it was worth, proving what, that Gore is Mr. Free Enterprise and Beck is opposed to letting the market set the price? No, Beck draws the conclusion that Gore likes Al Jazeera better than him.  I think Gore has proven he likes the big dollars more than either of them.
  • Beck has his feelings hurt that in his words “I’m the guy who lives in Dallas who did not get an invitation to the George Bush Presidential Library opening.”  We are led to believe that Beck thinks he should have an invite even though he had called for Bush’s impeachment.  Here is a guy missing some big social clues.
  • Beck loved New York City he says, calling it one of the “greatest towns in the world” and claiming he wanted “to live in New York my whole life” but found the city “unbelievably close-minded.”  He is surprised that people “hate” him “all over the world,” yet promises to hunt down progressives like an Israeli Nazi hunter” because we “are the biggest danger in the world.”  He claims to believe that anyone who disagrees with him about the size and responsibility of government “always leads to millions dead – always.”  Then elsewhere claims that “most Americans want to get along.  Why can’t we do that?  What has happened to us?”   Dude, listen to your own show.   Read your own quotes!   You can’t be a cheerleader of hate, and really wonder why everyone is not showing you the love.

In a final piece of ridiculousness  he believes that Levi’s jeans, which he also claims to love, “branded themselves the uniform of the progressive movement,” so he started his own jeans company for something to wear.

I’ve always found Beck fascinating, but it appears talking to himself on the radio and listening to little but his own voice has made him a conservative teddy bear on one hand, and a bull goose crazy person on the other.


Republican Presidential Candidates Houses: Bad Taste Past the Boundaries

            New Orleans               Republicans, Democrats, or whatever, when something is way, way over the line, it should be roundly understood as out of bounds.  A piece in the New York Times Home and Garden section this week by Kate Zernike called “The Houses of the Hopefuls” was appalling on any number of levels.

Having Glen Beck and other haters give people my home address and phone number is, admittedly, part of why I am fairly easily offended that there are simply no standards at the Times or anywhere else it would seem over about the privacy of public figures, and the Times would at least like to pretend that it is a place that sets such standards.  Past privacy though, was there no editorial or journalistic judgment that would restrain them from publishing pictures and descriptions of the candidates houses in the interest of public safety and some sense of a basic human right to safety, even if they are so bold, arrogant, or principled to put themselves forward for public office.

On those grounds alone the piece was offensive from its first premise that somehow we (citizens and voyeurs?) have a “right” to peek through the windows of their houses and stalk them on the blocks where they live in order to “get to know them better.”  God, how ridiculous is all of that?

But, then if readers tried to get through the piece, you would quickly be able to discover why Republican candidates of all stripes and persuasions have no problems with the “call and response” from their base about the smug elitism and sensibilities of what former Vice President Spiro Agnew once famously called the “nattering nabobs” of the East Coast corridor.  The article without apology seems to see its mission as making fun of the candidates and their families, parading forward one rock throwing, self-promoting designer after another willing to take a crack at the taste and sensibilities of these candidates and their private spaces.  The article was snide and “bitchy.”  In this case bad taste was truly in the eyes of the beholder, because virtually the entire article reeked of bad taste compounded by terrible judgment.

The reporter and the Times think they are in a position to take potshots at the taste of the candidates because they are so old-fashioned, traditional, and tend towards the “colonial” in housing styles.  Duh?  Quelle shock!   When George McGovern ran for President as a peace candidate against the sitting Democratic President Lyndon Johnson over the issue of the Vietnam War, he clearly stated a universal political law when he said, “those that would be most radical, must remember to appear most conservative,” as he explained his on wardrobe and lifestyle in the post-sixties environment.

Here’s the perfect example from the article.  I’m no friend of Michelle Bachmann, but once one gets past that and wraps one’s mind around the fact that a large family overflowing with adopted and other children that makes its money through public and social services can possibly afford a house with a $750,000 price tag, why is it not in fact admirable that she and her husband bought a house that was part of a charity construction design and build project?   To me it seems commendable in fact, though it rates no comment from the Times other than earning her a couple of body shots from a so-called professional whining about the design and line of the roof, as if Michelle and her gang were the architects and up there hammering away on the beams and shingles.

It never gets better after that, expect that the reporter and her buddies do seem to believe that you get more if you are richer so they had some faint praise for Romney and Huntsman as the zillionaires of the crew.

The Times Public Editor and anyone with an iota of routine manners and slight common sense should recoil and protest this unseemly and unsafe invasion of privacy and ad hominem attack (and that goes for Michelle Bachman , too!).

As always, let’s hope for a better new year!


Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government Admits Boo-boo on “Days of Rage”

Wall Street Protest

Wall Street Protest

New Orleans        I admit that I check the Google alerts everyday to see how the alternative universe is doing where this other “wade rathke” lives, who is often unrecognizable to me.  The most recent episode in his “life,” was some kind of “days of rage” planned for Wall Street, which was quite the buzz on Glenn Beck’s “news” website,  On the right they took all of this fantasy so seriously that I actually had to turndown interview requests from various Fox News outlets wanting to know more details on what I was supposedly planning for this unknown event.  Most often I was linked to Stephen Lerner, my colleague from the SEIU years, who was attracting some of the right wing love out there.
I guess the “days” happened this last weekend with not 20,000 but perhaps 1000 folks in some part in New York City, none of which is surprising.  In NYC more than a 1000 folks would gather for almost anything.  The real shock was to read Andrew Brietbart’s Big Government report where they conceded that all of the reports of Lerner and “Rathke’s” wild and revolutionary doings here were in fact “unfounded,” and to add a cherry on top, they even zinged Beck and Blaze for the fabulous fiction.


#OccupyWallSt: Just a Saturday Stroll Through the Park…
by LaborUnionReport
It was supposed to be this:

Day-of-RageOn the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.
Instead, as they say about the best laid plans, it was something entirely different. It was, frankly, a stroll through a park—Zuccotti Park, in lower Manhattan, to be exact.
A Non-Union Non-Event

Over the summer, on the heels of Arab Spring, an anti-capitalist group called adbusters established a campaign to occupy Wall Street, beginning on September 17th. Whether coincidental or not, September 17th also happened to be Constitution Day. While there had been some unfounded unfounded speculation a few weeks ago that the SEIU’s Stephen Lerner and ACORN founder Wade Rathke were behind the OccupyWallSt movement, there were never any signs that the Marxist-Anarchist protesters had any formal union backing—nor has there been anything posted on union websites about the occupation of Wall St.
This morning, protestors did, however, call for “revolution”.

Big Government then linked back to the Blaze below.
The alternative universe of the right is a scary, scary place though.  The original Blaze article may not have gone viral, but it did get traction.  More than 6000 righters had “liked” it and moved it to their Facebook walls.  The story had been tweeted 513 times and there were 739 comments most of which would have stripped paint off of cars.

And for all of the good work that Color of Change and others had done to get advertisers to boycott Beck during his Fox News time with Rupert Murdoch’s empire, it was disconcerting to see ads on the Blaze story from Orvis, where I’ve bought more than one fly rod and reel, and Green Mountain coffee promoting fair trade coffee, which will leave me head scratching a good part of the day.  What’s up with these guys?
US Who Is Behind the ‘US Day of Rage’ to ‘Occupy’ Wall Street this September 17th?

What, exactly, is a “US Day of Rage?” Well, on September 17th we may find out for certain, but until then, The Blaze is revealing what information does exist about this very nefarious-sounding campaign.

A US Day of Rage is the title given to a day of ostensibly “non-violent” civil disobedience orchestrated by a group of radicals — that reportedly include SEIU’s Stephen Lerner and ACORN founder Wade Rathke (who, coincidentally, formerly served as president of SEIU’s local New Orleans branch) — targeting Wall Street and U.S. capitalism. It’s worth noting that the title of the movement — if its intentions are indeed non-violent in nature — appears to contradict itself slightly.

But what is perhaps even more interesting than its title is who is allegedly behind the movement.

You may recall that back in March The Blaze exposed Lerner for stating his aspirations to destroy JP Morgan Chase and cause the collapse of the entire stock market.
Now, the US Day of Rage protests, staged by a collective of activist groups allegedly in conjunction with Lerner and Rathke, are planning the actual “occupation” of Wall Street September 17, complete with a tent city set smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan’s financial district.  Similar protests are purportedly set to take place across the nation — and even world — at the same time. Some Day of Rage organizers are even calling on activists to squat in Manhattan’s financial district for months at a time.
The Blaze’s report on Lerner, who serves on SEIU’s International Executive Board, caught the union agitator stating:

So, a bunch of us around the country are thinking about who would be a really good company to hate? We decided that would be JP Morgan Chase. …. And so we’re going to roll out over the next couple of months what will hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street. And so what we’re looking at is in the first week of May, we get enough people together – we’re starting now – to really have a week of action in New York with the goal of … I don’t want to go into any details because I don’t know which police agents are in the room, but the goal would be that we would roll out in New York the first week in May.

Then, like clockwork, some 400 activists brought Lerner’s dream to fruition and converged on JP Morgan Chase’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May — this time in Columbus, Ohio rather than New York. The group that staged this particular protest, the National People’s Action, reportedly confirmed it was there as part of its “Showdown in America” campaign against the big banks. Since the location of JP Morgan Chase’s meeting was surrounded by a moat, the activists, who likened themselves to Robin Hood, even brought a collapsible bridge to “storm the castle.”

It is also perhaps worth noting that in March, The Blaze reported Rathke and Lerner called for “days of rage in ten cities around JP Morgan Chase.” Rathke mentioned some of Lerner’s key assertions:

While labeling Lerner an ex-SEIU official who was signaling that unions and community organizations were “dead,” also reported hook-line-and-sinker that in May, according to Lerner, there would be days of rage in ten cities around JP Morgan Chase signally the beginning of the anti-banking jihad.

So it might add up now that Klein Online reported Rathke’s efforts are being organized by Lerner, who, as part of his planned protests, called for “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over the city:”

The planned Sept. 17 day of rage seems to be the culmination of Rathke’s efforts.
Those efforts are being organized by Stephen Lerner, an SEIU board member who reportedly visited the Obama White House at least four times.

The aim, according to Lerner, is to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.”

“How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their
lerner4bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?” Lerner asked rhetorically in March.
So, it appears, Columbus could have been one of the ten U.S. cities en route to New York for the “big day.”


Glenn Beck Going Down

GwdLiarsBeckNew Orleans We have finally reached bottom. I heard the splash, so we can measure exactly how far it is from normal to wacko crazy at Fox News finally when Glenn Beck and his maddening fantasy and conspiracy tour turned out to be even too much for Fox to handle. Turns out according to the behind-the-back whispers that neither Fox News nor Beck was ever happy, and they shed big fat alligator tears all the way to bank as they both made their deposits off the hate and hurt they inflicted on the American people and their viewers.

Heck, I know I’m broken up about it all, too. I hope they sell “no sympathy” cards at the drugstore now.

Big props to Media Matters, the Color of Change, and scores of other groups though on this one! Finally, our team gets to count coup, because despite all of this touchy-feely baloney from both Beck and Fox, the real story is that when 400 advertisers tell Fox, here’s my check but don’t spend it with that dangerous clown, they even understand that in Australian dialect that Rupert Murdoch can follow no matter what spin they put on it.

Unfortunately, Glenn Beck as the Charlie Sheen of the “news” room, isn’t out of business by any stretch of the imagination, and instead will just be moving his wild parade and carnival show down the road to another channel. Beck is still a big timer, just not a Fox friend. With 1.5 million viewers he had a base, his radio show is still a hit, and his weirdo books sell like hotcakes. The hate train is still rolling across the country and the whistle is blowing loudly at every stop.

My bet is that Beck, if anything will only get worse, now that he’s driven (or jumped?) even more underground where there is no governor on his conspiracy accelerator or muzzle on his mouth. The blackboards were killing him on TV. School is boring! Whoever convinced Beck that play school would be more attractive than the horror we all remember.

Let’s celebrate this victory and remember, as the coaches always say, we still have to keep winning the games scheduled today and tomorrow. Glenn Beck is a player. We have be ready to go with our “A” game every day with this dangerous dude!


The Big Troubles of James O’Keefe and His Sponsors

james o keefeNew Orleans It turns out that just like the song says, “it’s hard on a pimp” or a “punk” or a “pretend pimp,” which turns out is the case for video-sting-man James O’Keefe and his futile attempts to “come clean” and pull off his greatest ironic caper:  boy journalist.

You know it’s a dog pile when something as staid, boring and nose-in-the-air as The Chronicle of Philanthropy takes a look down at your problems, but sure enough, O’Keefe wants to make sure he gives his right-wing buddies a tax break for supporting his chicanery, so he’s applied for tax exempt 501c3 status for his paradoxically named “Project Veritas,” which used to be Latin for truth, but who knows what O’Keefe thinks it stands for.  But here’s the Chronicle’s cut:

“An attempt to visit Mr. O’Keefe at Project Veritas’s official address in Washington—2100 M Street N.W., Suite 170-241—was also unsuccessful. Suite 170 is a UPS store and No. 241 is a small mailbox that rents for $35 a month.

Project Veritas’s first step in getting an exemption is to file an application with the IRS known as Form 1023.

As part of that application process, Project Veritas must meet key requirements about how the group is organized and operated and spell out what charitable mission it will pursue.

Organizations must also prove that their assets do not unjustly enrich board members or officers and that board members do not pursue business activities unrelated to their tax-exempt purpose. Applicants must also show that they do “not engage in activities that are illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”

…Mr. O’Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor crime after he and three others entered the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, last year pretending to be telephone repairmen.

The fact that Mr. O’Keefe has stated in public that he would do it again, albeit “differently” would probably be the biggest stumbling block to gaining charity status, said Marc Owens, a Washington tax lawyer who formerly oversaw the IRS division that monitors tax-exempt groups.

“If he is proposing to do something that is, in fact, illegal, can the IRS believe, with any degree of credibility, what he is saying?” Mr. Owens said. “Is he going to continue to enter government offices illegally? He pled guilty to it once and said he would do it again. It’s reasonable to conclude that the organization may be engaged in criminal activity in the future.””

Bottom line: They are not sure you should get tax free donations when you announce that you may break the law with the money.  Geez, they have kind of a point there.

It’s probably only a minor aggravation for O’Keefe that the student paper at his alma mater publishes a piece that says essentially they are embarrassed by him and his exploits.  The web-magazine, Colorlines has documented with frequent stories O’Keefe’s problems with race.  As they said of his New Jersey teachers scam:  “What’s perhaps most notable is that O’Keefe, once again, found a way to racialize his hit job. ” Organizations involved in racial justice or with members of a darker hue than he carries — are probably also just water off a duck’s back to him, because I’m sure he’s comfortable in his own skin and only that skin indeed!   Of course ostensibly racial bias is also the opposite of the “fundamental public policy,” which in fact should be something worth the IRS looking at when they determine whether or not to give a tax exemption to foster O’Keefe’s brand of race hate and race bait through his work and caricatures.

Michael Gaynor, a lawyer and conservative blogger, who establishes his “right” credentials by trumpeting on this twitter bio the fact that he brought the Cloward-Piven “strategy to “Glenn Beck’s attention,” which is one heckuva claim to fame, looked closely at the San Diego legal problems posed to O’Keefe and Hannah Giles “acting” as the prostitute in that ill begotten scheme, and thinks there may be big problems not only for them but for their lifeline sponsors and outlets, Andrew Brietbart and his biggovernment website and the Fox News friends:

“So, make no mistake, in Maryland, California and Pennsylvania, Ms. Giles and Mr. O’Keefe are in legal peril, even more so in California and Pennsylvania.

Given the importance of the information contained on the videos, it is not reasonably disputable that the Constitution permits and Fox News to use them, at least if they are “otherwise innocent.”

If, as reported, Mr. Breitbart serendipitously first learned of the videos when Mr. Giles brought them to his house and Fox News was not involved in the sting in any way until it reported on it, then both and Fox News were within their rights in using the videos, the Maryland statute notwithstanding.

In Bartnicki v. Volper, which involved both the federal and Pennsylvania laws against surreptitious recording, the United States Supreme Court held that a publisher who has lawfully obtained information from a source who obtained it unlawfully may not be punished by the government for the ensuing publication based on the defect in a chain.

Bottom line: and Fox News appear to be safe, because, in the words of the majority opinion in Bartnicki v. Volper, the interest in “removing an incentive for parties to intercept private conversations–does not justify applying” a statute prohibiting surreptitious recording “to an otherwise innocent disclosure of public information.”

If and/or Fox News are NOT “otherwise innocent,” then Ms Giles and Mr. O’Keefe will have company on the legal hot seat.”

O’Keefe probably needs that tax exemption to raise money to pay the settlement that may be coming his way from losing the California suit for his shenanigans.

This guy seems is a heat seeking missile heading for trouble and exploding everything around him.  The Landrieu probably seems to have taught him nothing, but been mere rocket fuel for his mischief.

Press clips may be addictive, but they don’t pay the bills, and O’Keefe is due to learn that his was no free ride.