Protests, czars, and animal rights
…In which we take a look at Glenn Beck. I should note in advance that I am not listening to his program, I am reading his newsletter. It is entirely possible the man is making subtle points when considering the transcript in its entirety, or that the people who summarize the show are badly misrepresenting him. Either way, the email is misleading– and misleading emails are what we’re all about here.
From today’s newsletter:
9/12 – Media misses the boat again
Wow, what an amazing turn out in Washington DC over the weekend. Hundreds of thousands of regular schlubs like you took time out of their busy lives to head down to Washington and let it be known that they are not happy with the out of control government. Obama’s senior advisor, David Axelrod, didn’t seem to get the message — saying he didn’t think this represented what America thinks and flatly said ‘they are wrong.’ Imagine if a crowd like THIS showed up to protest Bush. What do you think David Axelrod would have said then? ( Transcript, Insider Audio)
Know your Czars
Sure, you helped get one of the Czars canned — but don’t gloat, because that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to find out what in the world the communist was doing there in the first place. That question was not answered, which is a problem because dozens more Czars still remain. Do you know the name John Holdren? If you do, great — then pass it on to one of your friends who doesn’t. If you don’t…WARNING: This guy’s views are so nuts, you may become more crazy just by viewing them. ( Transcript, Insider Audio)
1 : emperor; specifically : the ruler of Russia until the 1917 revolution
2 : one having great power or authority <a banking czar>
b. transf. A person having great authority or absolute power; a tyrant, ‘boss’. orig. U.S.…1970 Guardian 18 Apr. 10/6 Many [American] Presidents..establish a staff ‘Czar’ to cut down on ‘unnecessary’ memos and contacts…DRAFT ADDITIONS APRIL 2001:orig. U.S. A person appointed by a government to recommend and coordinate policy in a particular area and to oversee its implementation. Usually with modifying word denoting the area of responsibility.1933 S. WALKER Night Club Era 167 There are several versions of why Mulrooney quit the job to become the state beer ‘Czar’. 1942 Amer. Observer 2 Feb. 8/1 From June 1940 until the recent appointment of Donald M. Nelson as war production czar, the American defense effort was best described in terms of red tape, delay, buck passing, and lack of authority. 1959 Madison (New Jersey) Eagle 30 Apr. 1/1 New Jersey’s newly-created ‘czar’ of transportation..announced Thursday night that he expected to have a solution to the commuting crisis worked out in from six months to a year. 1977 Time Jan. 35/1 The job as energy czar will be Schlesinger’s fifth Government post. 1989 Economist 25 Mar. 47/2 Bennett’s first move, after he was sworn in as his country’s drug tsar, was to select Washington, its capital, as a test case for his new crusade. 2001 Observer 25 Mar. I. 2/3 Equal pay ‘tsars’ will shame sexist employers into giving women a fair wage under a government action plan to root out workplace discrimination.
So it’s useful to note that during the Cold War, the term czar or tsar were used to describe government policy experts. Of course, if we click on the etymology link…
The Slav. word ultimately represents L. Cæsar, but came, according to Miklosich, through the medium of a Germanic lang. in which the word had the general sense ‘emperor’: cf. Goth. kaisar, OHG. keisar, OLG. kêsar, ON. keysari, whence also Finnish keisari, Esth. keiser, keisri. For the change of Germanic k to c = ts in Slav., cf. CHURCH.
Really, we trace czar back to the latin Caesar…But perhaps this is overdoing this exercise. More relevant is of course that the Bolsheviks executed the last Czar, Nicholas II, in 1917, after the revolution which created the Soviet Union. When you come down to it, Glenn Beck’s burning desire to depose the czars makes him a bit of a metaphorical communist.
Okay, almost there.
Cass Sunstein, Obama’s pick for Regulatory Czar, was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 57-30. How in the world did a guy who thinks that animals should be able to sue human beings in court ever get through the rigorous confirmation process? Glenn answers that question and highlights more of Sunstein’s crazy beliefs in the latest Beck Talks video blog.
Cass Sunstein, author of republic.com, a book I heartily disagreed with back when I read it; Constitutional scholar, Harvard Law School professor, and… Yep! Animal rights advocate. So this view sounds crazy, that animals should be able to sue human beings in court, until you consider what Sunstein was actually advocating. Wikipedia summarizes it, but includes a helpful link to google books, which has the volume in question.
What Sunstein turns out to actually be coping with is the issue of standing. As things are presently, you, the private citizen, cannot bring suit against your neighbor if said neighbor is committing atrocities against animals. So the idea is that either (a) there need to be provisions allowing people to bring suit against individuals who are abusing animals or (b) animals themselves should receive that right, which accomplishes the same thing– allowing individuals to bring suit on the behalf of the abused animals.
I was planning on dealing with Rush in this post as well, but this has become a substantial post already, so we’ll leave it at that.
Edit: As Nick points out in a side discussion, there’s an assumption by Beck about the views of the protesters in DC, and who they really are. FiveThirtyEight makes some interesting points on this, and I think this photo underscores some of that– the presence of W on that particular sign may just be sampling error, but it’s interesting to see nonetheless. They’re not necessarily a monolithic group– then again, certainly many of the left protests have been pretty diverse as well.
One More Edit: According to Talking Points Memo, there’s actually no official estimate of the crowd size, as the fire department apparently didn’t authorize anyone to give out a number at all.