Michael Wolraich's picture

    Why Did California Shooter Target the Tides Foundation?

    Late Saturday night, the California Highway Patrol stopped 45-year-old Byron Williams as he sped towards San Francisco. Wearing a bullet proof vest and armed with three guns, Williams opened fire on the officers. After a 12-minute firefight, CHP troopers subdued and arrested Williams.

    According to the police, Williams had hoped to start a revolution by killing employees of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tides Foundation. The ACLU is a well-known bogeyman of the right wing, but the Tides Foundation, a progressive non-profit organization founded in 1976 to promote social change, is a less familiar name. Why did Williams target a little-known non-profit in order to incite a revolution? Just ask Fox News...

    Of course, the good folks of Fox News don't want violence. Glenn Beck, for example, has admonished his audience, "If you ever hear someone thinking about or talking about turning violent, it is your patriotic duty to stop them. The only way to save our republic is to remain peaceful--forceful but peaceful."

    Beck has also denied that his dire prophesies of communist revolution and totalitarian oppression encourage violence. Comparing himself to a flight attendant, he explained:

    Blaming TV or radio hosts for the nutjob who killed three Pittsburgh police officers over the weekend is like blaming a flight attendant after a terrorist takes down a plane. In other words: Giving passengers a safety talk to prepare them for a worst-case scenario doesn't mean you are responsible should a terrorist make that worst-case scenario happen. One person is providing important information. The other is a nutjob who would've acted no matter what.

    Beck's analogy isn't quite right, however. He hasn't been calmly telling the passengers where to find their life jackets and thanking them for flying with Fox News. He has been hysterically shouting, "THE PILOT IS TRYING TO CRASH THE PLANE! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" For example, here is a "safety talk" that Beck delivered to his Fox News passengers a few months after he invoked the flight attendant defense:

    I told you yesterday buckle up your seatbelt, America. Find the exit. There's one here, here and here. Find the exit closest to you and prepare for a crash-landing because this plane is coming down because the pilot is intentionally steering it into the trees...They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered.

    That's some safety talk. A safety talk like that might lead some passengers to do more than just buckle their seat belts. It might even lead some "nutjob" to shout, "Let's roll!" and rush the cockpit.

    I'm currently writing a book about right-wing paranoia, Blowing Smoke (formerly How Bill O'Reilly Saved Christmas), to be published in October. For updates, click the I Like button on the book's fan page.



    Thanks for the explanation.  I have a good friend who works at that Tides office and I was perplexed how it became the subject of hate on a par with the ACLU.

    Glenn Beck is probably not insane or stupid enough to believe the drivel that he spouts on Fox, which makes him all the more evil for his efforts to drum up fear and hate in those stupid or insane enough to believe the conspiracy theories that he enjoys inventing and publicizing.

    When the means by which you attract viewers to your show is to make the world a more misguidedly angry, more violent, more confused and less well informed place, you may have no soul.

    You need to watch the program not repeat what the media reports that supports the progressive movement, like yourself.


    Sure boss! Picking it up o'r here boss.

    But my momma didn't raise an idiot and my daddy didn't raise a fool.

    And you?


    You've done a fantastic job on this blog.

    Great post, G, and a huge help with the background.

    Thank the Almighty that this person got pulled over when he did, and that he didn't manage to actually shoot either the police officers or his intended victims. Glenn Beck doesn't have that blood on his hands today, but I'm worried that it's a matter of luck and time.

    Thanks, Doc. Yeah, this was a close one. (Note to self: When embarking on a major terrorist operation, DO NOT SPEED!)

    Note to those planning actual terrorism: speed! Speed!

    You can't get there fast enough to complete the mission! So exceed the speed limit by at least 40 mph, and zip back and forth between lanes. If you don't attract at least two police crusisers with their sirens on, you're doing it wrong!

    Also, license plates are the tool of Zionist world domination, so take yours off your car before you head out. And get some bumper stickers that threaten to kill cops.

    Also, too, if you're going 40 mph above the speed limit and hit a concrete retaining wall ... that's just God's will. You have to accept it.

    Thanks for this report. The effects of this startling event are still sinking in for me and some of my colleagues (I work at one of the environmental groups on Beck's infamous white board pictured above).

    Thankfully this one didn't get to the point that it's a major news story (maybe I'd be dead?)...but even without anyone innocent getting shot, I hope stories like yours can reach enough people to show the true impact of Beck and Fox news' hate speech, violent inciding rhetoric. They should be condemned for it more than they are.

    Thanks for the comment. I'm writing a book on the rhetoric of the right wing (linked at the end of the article), and one of the chapters focuses on the violence in much more detail than I've presented here. Hopefully, it will reach a few people.

    But I'm deeply afraid that the country won't wake up to the threat until one of these guys accomplishes his objective. There are a lot of worrisome parallels between the current climate and that of the early 1990s.

    Queston No matter how they presented, ARE GLENN BECKS FACTS CORRECT? That is the real question here...It they are Not true then we all need to call him out onthe facts and not divert attention away from them and attach the manor in which the facts are presented. That is an old political trick ignore the facts and shoot the messanger.

    Birds fly. Terrorist fly planes into buildings. Therefore, birds are terrorists.

    The first two facts provided above are correct. The conclusion is as reasonable as Glenn Beck's. There's a Latin expression non sequitor. Glenn Beck has effectively trade-marked non sequitor.

    12/1/2000 - CIA document Case# F-2001-00009: Buried by Bush/Cheney
    “International Crime Threat Assessment” defines “Kleptocracy,
    …rather than serve PUBLIC INTEREST, top leaders use nations resources solely to enrich themselves and their cronies. To cover up crimes the stage is set for social and political upheavals

    “We’ve researched the AM Radio Free Conservative/FOX News propaganda machine and it turns out spokespersons like O’Reilly, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, etc… are TRAITORS working for foreign special interests that want to “divide and conquer” the American PEOPLE. PROPAGANDA on a scale not seen since Tokyo Rose…

    I’m sure the Saudi Royals (Kingdom Holding Co.) who are now majority stockholders in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp/FOX News are confident of their long range strategic planning.


    NOTE: (did you see the video of the TRAITORS Ailes, O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck and the rest of FOX news puppets lining up t0 kiss the right shoulder of the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talai? I got ill during the Saudi sword dance celebrating how they got the American, ignorant, right-wing fanatics to VOTE AGAINST THEIR OWN BEST INTERESTS!

    …It’s even more sickening than all the hand holding/kissing Bush Jr. used to do at the ranch in Crawford TX. George W. Bush always resembled a smitten school girl ever time he was in the presence of Saudi Royals…

    HA Republicans… nothing but #*~/’n obstructionists who allowed a bunch of vain, self-serving, power mad, greed stricken, silver spoon CON artists to ravage and expatriate most of our nation’s wealth and resources. The USA is in the middle of a fire sale where drug trafficers, Saudi Royals, India and communists China are buying up our most valuable assets…   Thanks for NOTHING you Republican/ Conservative wackos.


    Uh...OK. Thanks for sharing.

    Hey G-why do you have an ad for the right wing Fiorino on your blog?  Giving in to the sell out of our state?  Whitman and Fiorino?  

    It's one of the humorous effects of AdSense, I'm sure. Insulting the right wing means mentioning the right wing, which means being served ads supporting the right wing, at least in theory. In practice, considering the audience, those ads are hopefully providing additional insult to injury (ha!) by draining (albeit very slightly) their campaign coffers to appeal to people who have no interest in supporting them.

    I'm thinking about switching to Advertise Liberally. Adsense has been sucking for a long time.

    I plugged one of these Glenn Beck quotes into http://iwl.me/ and got "Dan Brown" as the answer. More proof that, no matter how hard Beck tries, the truth will come out.

    He has been hysterically shouting, "THE PILOT IS TRYING TO CRASH THE PLANE! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!"


    This is the best line I have read on Beck in months. hahahahaha


    This is really innovative and a new idea, I like this concept and the way it is carried out in so light and cool manner. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future  updates.

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