After their wide-ranging attacks on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan have fallen flat, the right-wing media has officially hit the bottom of the barrel.
Matt Drudge is currently promoting the following link on his homepage:
The headline links to a CNS News article quoting Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the Rabbinical Alliance of America attacking Kagan for turning "traditional Judaism on its head" because she supposedly wants to "homosexualize every segment of society."
Who is Rabbi Yehuda Levin?
Here he is discussing how allowing gays to serve openly in the military could cause natural disasters. He also claims the "sodomy agenda" caused 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Haiti:
Earlier this week, Jim Hoft excitedly broadcast his support for Gen. Stanley McChrystal , whom he labeled the "Top Afghaninstan [sic] General." In a series of posts, Hoft lauded McChrystal as a "true patriot" who was fired by "President Thin Skin" for "telling the truth" and giving his "honest reflections on the clueless Obama Administration."
His appreciation for McChrystal appears to have been short-lived, however, as Hoft is struggling to make sense of reports that McChrystal is -- gasp! -- a liberal. Hoft posted this report on McChrystal from The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder:
The story about him voting for Obama is not contrived. He is a political liberal. He is a social liberal. He banned Fox News from the television sets in his headquarters. Yes, really. This puts to rest another false rumor: that McChrystal deliberately precipitated his firing because he wants to run for President.
Hoft characterized the report this way:
He may have been a good general. He may have also been a loon.
How is it that you could be a great general and a fan of the military-bashing liberal media at the same time? Someone, please explain this to me.
To Jim Hoft, Gen. McChrystal went from a "true patriot" to possible "loon" in less than 24 hours, simply because he doesn't like Fox News. And, contrary to the fantasy world Hoft -- and much of the conservative media -- lives in where someone can't be both liberal and pro-military, the real world doesn't function that way.
We could try to explain it to you, Jim, but you probably wouldn't get it.
Since returning last week from a wedding-related hiatus, Rush Limbaugh has spent much of his time attacking the Obama administration and Democrats for what he perceives as their unfairly harsh treatment of BP. Limbaugh has been particularly outraged over the $20 billion relief fund the administration negotiated with BP to help cover the costs of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill.
Limbaugh has labeled the relief fund a "slush fund" that is just like "blackmail," "extortion," and "redistribution." He's called it "an abject violation of the U.S. Constitution" that is "far more than thugocracy," adding that it's "straight out of the Communist Manifesto."
Limbaugh was also piqued at the Congressional hearing into the causes of the spill with BP CEO Tony Hayward. To Limbaugh, this was "show trial" that was just like "what happened in Stalinist Russia."
In Limbaugh's eyes, the true hero of the "show trials" was GOP Rep. Joe Barton, who apologized to BP for what Barton deemed - echoing Limbaugh from earlier in the week - the administration's "shakedown" of the company. Barton was subsequently forced to retract his apology after pressure from GOP leadership. Limbaugh, however, agreed with Barton's initial assessment of the "shakedown" and has praised his apology to BP as a "home run."
And while numerous conservative media figures have joined with Limbaugh to praise Barton and defend BP, TPM reported this morning that Limbaugh's praise for the oil company and defense of Barton has some Congressional Republicans feeling uncomfortable:
Last week, following yet another of his "nobody ever proves me wrong" self-affirmations, Glenn Beck claimed that if he "get[s] out of control and start[s] leveling baseless charges that can't be backed up," then he would be "fired." As we pointed out at the time, this is obviously not the case, as much of Beck's show hinges on "leveling baseless charges."
Last night's show serves as a perfect example of why Beck, by his own standard, should be fired.
Let's start with Beck running with one of the most outrageously false things Fox News has promoted in recent memory: the absurd claim that Obama is "giving land back to Mexico." While discussing immigration reform last night, Beck referenced the story this way:
Federal lands are now being closed to Americans because of the dangers of, quote, 'human and drug trafficking along the Mexican border.' Eighty miles into our border, and we've closed it. We might as well give that land to Mexico. Oh, I think we may have just done that.
Beck managed to squeeze numerous falsehoods into these three sentences, so let's unpack them one at a time. First of all, Beck's suggestion that the lands are "now being closed" and that we have "just" done this is false. The land was closed almost four years ago, in October of 2006 (or, more to the point, two years before Obama was even elected).
This morning, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Energy committee, apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he called the "$20 billion shakedown" of the company by the Obama administration. Huffington Post's Sam Stein reported:
"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) during a hearing on Thursday morning with BP's CEO Tony Hayward." I think it is a tragedy in the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown -- in this case a $20 billion shakedown -- with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation's future."
"I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize," Barton added. "I do not want to live in a county where anytime a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, [it is] subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown."
The "shakedown" that Barton referred to is the $20 billion escrow account negotiated between the Obama administration and BP to pay for damages resulting from the oil spill. Several members of the GOP have rushed to distance themselves from Barton's comments, with Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) actually calling for Barton to resign his committee post.
If you thought nobody could possibly defend Barton's apology to BP, then let me introduce you to the conservative blogosphere.
Noted hack Jim Hoft agreed with Barton, writing, "Of course it was a shakedown. It's the Chicago way." Hoft added "well said, Congressman." JammieWearingFool wrote: "Let's hear it for Rep. Joe Barton." Regarding White House press secretary Robert Gibbs' denunciation of Barton's comments, JWF wrote: "Aww, the poor babies can't handle the truth."
These defenses of Barton arrived on the heels of several conservative media figures leaping to BP's defense by claiming that Obama is "demonizing" the company.
As my colleague Oliver Willis remarked to me after Barton's apology: "Sorry, BP, that we got our dirty ocean water in your oil."
Now that Barton has apologized for his apology, it will be interesting to see how Hoft and JWF try to spin things. After all, JWF said Barton's words were "the truth," and Hoft declared that Barton's words were "well said" and specifically praised Barton's use of the term "shakedown." Per his apology, Barton disagrees that his words were "well said":
"I apologize for using the term 'shakedown' with regard to yesterday's actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP," Barton said.
The consistently unhinged and perpetually wrong Jim Hoft is back again, this time weighing in on a recent State Department report about human trafficking. How can Hoft turn this into an attack on Secretary of State Clinton and Democrats, you ask? Just watch.
First, some back story. For the past ten years, the State Department has released a study detailing human trafficking and the modern slave trade. For the first time ever, the report included the United States. As Chris Moody reported at The Daily Caller (not exactly a bastion of liberal thought), the move drew "praise from international human rights groups," because the U.S. had received criticism in the past for detailing human trafficking in other countries while exempting the United States from the report.
As Moody also noted, the report estimated that in the United States "up to 17,500 people are trafficked each year." This is, of course, a disturbingly high number, and one that the U.S. is working to reduce.
Secretary Clinton remarked upon the release of the report:
The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including in the United States. The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it.
To rational people, this would seem pretty non-controversial, even laudable. Then there's Jim Hoft, whose take was about as far from rational as one can get. According to Hoft, the real story behind Secretary Clinton's and the State Department's efforts to highlight and put an end to this atrocity is that it's just another sign that Democrats hate America. Seriously.
Glenn Beck is not responding well to the (well-deserved) criticism of his profoundly terrible new novel, The Overton Window. Beck is particularly piqued at Washington Post book critic Steven Levingston's brutal review, which declared that the "silly" language of the book exceeded the "often laughable prose" found in the thriller genre. What truly irked Beck, however, was Levingston's observation that some "radical readers may take the story's fiction for fact," and that the book is "an extended call to arms, a rallying cry to [Beck's] foot soldiers long stirred by his rantings on Fox News."
Since then, the two have been engaged in a somewhat heated back and forth. Last night on his Facebook page, Beck took things in a slightly more personal direction, writing that he feels "pretty bad" for Levingston, who Beck claims "soooo clearly wants to be an author, but, it seems, he just doesn't have the talent."
As with The Overton Window, this line is stuffed with unintentional hilarity.
Alabama Republican House candidate Rick Barber released an ad yesterday wherein he sits at a table with the ghosts of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Adams (note: they may have actually been time traveling - this is unclear) ranting about the IRS and talking about impeaching the president. The ad climaxes with one of the Founders declaring, "Gather your armies."
While Fox Nation dubbed the insipid ad "amazing" yesterday, and the other nutty corners of the right-wing blogosphere offered their praise for Barber, Glenn Beck had a much harsher take, labeling Barber a "dope" on his radio show today, saying Barber is "one of the dumbest people" he has seen, and asking Barber "what is wrong with you?"
Beck's outrage at Barber's ad stands in stark contrast to Beck's own frequent use of violent rhetoric. Though Beck often implores his viewers not to resort to violence - not usually a good sign when you feel it necessary to do that once, let alone several times - he often characterizes political debates in violent and revolutionary rhetoric.
In the "note from the author" that precedes Glenn Beck's profoundly terrible new novel, The Overton Window, Beck explains that the book is a work of "faction," which he defines as "completely fictional books with plots rooted in fact." And while he has stressed that the plot of the book is fiction, he has frequently implied that the events are a real world possibility, claiming that while writing the book for "over two years," he had to "change it several times because things kept happening. This time I hope the ending stays fiction."
Beck also explains in the note from the author that the book, which follows the limited-government adventures of Noah Gardner and Molly Ross, takes place at a time in history "very much like the one we find ourselves living in now." This is true, insofar as the world of The Overton Window is very similar to the fantasy world Beck constructs on his radio and TV programs. The "facts" that the book is "rooted in" track very closely with the frequently false things Glenn Beck has spent the last year and a half fear mongering about. When viewed in this light, the last 16 months of Beck's public meltdown start to look like a publicity stunt for this "factional" novel.
In a USA Today profile on Beck, Overton Window ghostwriter Kevin Balfe explained the "team approach" Beck and his "contributors" adopted: "Glenn has a three-hour radio show every morning. That's obviously 100% Glenn. But if you wanted to translate that into a book, you could take those transcripts. But then, someone has to go in and make it sound good to read in that format."
Indeed, the book does read like someone just transcribed Beck's radio shows and put them into a novel - though they appear to have overlooked the "make it sound good to read" step.
While Glenn Beck's name appears on the cover of the remarkably awful upcoming novel, The Overton Window, the title page lists "contributions from" Kevin Balfe, Emily Bestler, and Jack Henderson. According to a profile of Beck in today's USA Today, these "contributions" include writing the actual book [emphasis added]:
Which is why he takes a team approach to writing his own books, including his first political thriller, The Overton Window (Threshold, $25), on sale Tuesday.
On the title page, Beck shares credit with three contributors. He calls the conspiracy novel "my story," but he says Jack Henderson, one of his contributors, "went in and he put the words down."
Others novelists might not acknowledge such help, but Beck, a self-described "fiscal conservative and common-sense libertarian," says, "I'm a team kind of guy."
Later in the profile, Beck explains that there was "no way" he was going to sit down and actually write The Overton Window. What a silly concept, writing the book with your name on it:
As for his team approach to writing, Beck says, "There's clearly no way that I'm sitting behind a typewriter or word program and pounding this out. ... I have my vision and need someone to make sure that vision stays there."
Balfe offers this explanation: "Glenn has a three-hour radio show every morning. That's obviously 100% Glenn. But if you wanted to translate that into a book, you could take those transcripts. But then, someone has to go in and make it sound good to read in that format. And that's the way I describe the writing. It's all Glenn, but you've got to have the right thriller technique," which is where the contributors come in.
With romantic scenes involving lines like "don't tease the panther," it's understandable that nobody appears to want the credit for writing The Overton Window.
The profile also indicates a sequel may be in the works:
Beck calls his 321-page novel "half the book I wrote. They didn't think an 800-page book, which would have become a 1,200-page book, would be flying off the shelves. So this is only the first half."
Considering that not much actually happens in The Overton Window, a sequel might make sense.