Sometimes it seems as if Glenn Beck is in some sort of bizarre competition to one-up each nonsensical conspiracy theory he promotes on his TV and radio shows. Today, on the radio, we got one that's really out there.
Last night on Hannity, Sarah Palin defended her appearance on her TLC reality show from Karl Rove's criticism by claiming, "We're not to just be sitting there in our own little circle of influence and though the Fox News viewership is huge, larger than any other news organization of course, just preaching to the choir with Fox viewers?"
Is she serious?
Appearing on Newsmax.com, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich reiterated his call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign, this time for the verdict (acquittal on 284 out of 285 charges) in the government's case against convicted terrorist Ahmed Ghailani.
Gingrich claimed that Holder's "rulings have been wrong" and have "endangered national security." Gingrich also repeated the claim that testimony excluded by the civilian court would have otherwise been included, something numerous legal experts disagree with. The testimony was also excluded because the witness' name was obtained via "extremely harsh interrogation techniques" (possibly torture) authorized by the Bush administration.
As we have extensively documented, Glenn Beck's multi-day attack on George Soros was filled with lies and anti-Semitic stereotypes of the worst sort. Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker took notice of Beck's campaign, particularly his usage of a New Yorker profile of Soros as research material that purportedly backed up his smears:
Call us oversensitive, but when our efforts are shanghaied like a nineteenth-century sailor and forced to work as a deckhand aboard a ship of lies, we can't help getting our hackles up. You don't have to be a professional semiotician to see that the Glenn Beck promo is intended to leave the impression that George Soros, the hedge-fund investor and funder of anti-totalitarian and liberal causes, is an anti-Semite; that he was somehow complicit in the Holocaust; and that he is an enemy of Israel. These are lies--lies told by innuendo, but lies all the same. The promo's shard of truth is that "The World According to Soros" was indeed published in The New Yorker. Its author was Connie Bruck. ("Bruc" is a Fox flub, not a Fox fib.) The quotes from it, though accurately transcribed, are made to function as lies by being placed in an utterly mendacious context. Bruck's article is the "source" of these smears only in the sense that the brooks of the Catskills are the "source" of New York City's sewage.
Hertzberg goes on to note that many of Beck's attacks on Soros "correspond uncannily to those of classical anti-Semitism," and takes him to task, while he was in the midst of a fearmongering rant about Soros' supposed plans for America, for omitting that many of the revolutions backed by Soros were against Communistic regimes and autocratic governments.
As we've previously noted, there is a connection between Sarah Palin and philanthropist George Soros in the form of Palin adviser Randy Scheunemann - whose firm has been paid at least $150,000 by Soros' Open Society Policy Center for work related to promoting democracy in Burma. So far, this revelation has escaped the attention of Glenn Beck, who has made chalkboard examples of others with much less concrete connections to Soros.
But Alan Keyes, conservative activist and serial Republican presidential candidate, has taken note of Palin's Soros tie in his most recent column for World Net Daily:
While Glenn Beck was focusing on George Soros as the Machiavellian "eminence grise" behind a whole slew of Democratic left-wingers, Justin Elliot, a commentator at Salon.com, wryly made note of the fact that "one of Sarah Palin's top aides has been on Soros' payroll for years. That would be Republican lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, Palin's foreign-policy adviser and a member of her small inner circle." Not surprisingly, Scheunemann is one of the advisers Palin acquired through her association with John McCain. McCain's creative reliance on George Soros as a source of funds for his political advisers and associates is well-documented and ought to be well-known.
Considering the source, I'm sure many wishful and well-intentioned Palin fans will be moved brusquely to dismiss this information as an isolated fact being exploited (as usual) by another one of Palin's leftist abusers. Yet the telltale flaw in Palin's supposedly conservative credentials is a proven penchant for relying on advisers who mislead her into decisions that are anything but conservative. I have thoroughly analyzed the results in a number of articles you can read at my blog, Loyal to Liberty - Palin drops the other shoe," "Sarah Palin -- personally pro-life, but ...?" "Is Palin's lead a pitfall for the pro-life cause?" "Why is Palin raising McCain?" and "Palin's choice: An afterword."
George Soros provides funding resources for activism that undermines the American constitutional republic. The details of his largesse confirm the fact that this activism is at work in both the Democratic and Republican parties. With one hand Soros instigates the openly leftist push for global, totalitarian socialism characteristic of the Obama faction. With the other he quietly promotes the self-serving crypto-socialist agendas that hide behind the mask of conservative rhetoric put on by Republican leaders in the McCain/Palin mold. As a result, in 2008 the sham two-party system offered a choice between the Soros-backed partisan network of John McCain and the Soros-backed partisan network of Barack Obama. Will a GOP nominee like Palin assure the same sham alternative in 2012?
Keyes is sounding a warning to his fellow conservatives about the Palin-Soros connection, how much longer will Beck ignore this?
For some time now, Glenn Beck has attempted to use religion as an argument against universal health care. Last August, for example, Beck said that unless Jesus came down to earth and opened a clinic where he dispensed medical care, "there cannot be a right to health care":
BECK: We have a right to health care, really? God doesn't give health care. Man provides health care. So how can it be a right. If you are endowed by your Creator with certain unalienable rights, how can a God-given right be health care, unless Jesus comes down and starts to open up a clinic and heal us himself? There cannot be a right to health care, because the rights come to God.
On the opposite side of this issue? Pope Benedict XVI, who yesterday reportedly called access to health care an "inalienable right," and urged governments to ensure that their citizen have it:
Pope Benedict XVI and other church leaders said it was the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.
Access to adequate medical attention, the pope said in a written message Nov. 18, was one of the "inalienable rights" of man.
The pope's message was read by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to participants at the 25th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry at the Vatican Nov. 18-19.
The theme of this year's meeting was "Caritas in Veritate - toward an equitable and human health care."
The pope lamented the great inequalities in health care around the globe. While people in many parts of the world aren't able to receive essential medications or even the most basic care, in industrialized countries there is a risk of "pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism" that leads to "a cult of the body," the popesaid.
"The care of man, his transcendent dignity and his inalienable rights" are issues that should concern Christians, the pope said.
Because an individual's health is a "precious asset" to society as well as to himself, governments and other agencies should seek to protect it by "dedicating the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access."
"Justice in health care should be a priority of governments and international institutions," he said, cautioning that protecting human health does not include euthanasia or promoting artificial reproductive techniques that include the destruction of embryos.
Care for human life from conception to its natural end must be a guiding light in determining health care policy, the pope said.
This is a pretty explicit position on behalf of the Pope, and it appears diametrically opposed to the supposedly moral, religious argument laid out by Beck. Can it be long before the Pope finds his way onto Beck's infamous chalkboard?
Glenn Beck has regularly defended precious metals dealer and advertiser Goldline (for whom he's done personal testimonials) against congressional scrutiny by touting the company's "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But reports have surfaced, from Mother Jones and ABC, that the BBB's ratings have more to do with how much money a company pays the bureau than what sort of service the business provides to its customers. Now, ABC News reports that the BBB has acknowledged "automatically giv[ing] better grades to its member businesses" is changing their policy on payments and ratings:
Under fire for its controversial rating system, the Better Business Bureau has announced that it will no longer automatically give better grades to its member businesses. The action comes on the heels of an ABC News investigation into allegations that the BBB is running a "pay to play" scheme in which A plus ratings are only awarded to those businesses that pay membership fees, and lower grades are given to those who don't.
However, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a prominent critic of the BBB's rating system, said he remained "troubled" by the system and wanted the BBB to make more extensive changes.
Steve Cox, the CEO and President of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, announced that by next week the BBB ratings system will no longer give extra points to businesses that pay for accreditation. Under the current system, extra points are awarded to member businesses and only those that are accredited can receive the coveted A plus rating. In addition, the BBB announced that it will conduct a review of its accrediting process and "as soon as possible, make changes that will apply system-wide." The BBB says an "independent third party" will assist in the review process.
If it wasn't clear before, it is now - the "A+" rating mantra repeated by Beck doesn't appear to have any serious independent authority behind it.
Fox's Shannon Bream, while discussing the recent cancellation of President Obama's scheduled meeting with congressional Republicans, pushed the ridiculously untrue claim about the meeting between Obama and the House GOP in January.
Bream claims there was a "brouhaha" associated with the meeting, reporting that "a lot" of House Republicans said that they "didn't know he was coming."
But as Talking Points Memo has explained, this is clearly untrue. House Republicans knew in advance that Obama planned to attend the meeting, with Rep. Mike Pence (chairman of the House Republican Conference) issuing a press release thanking the President for "accept[ing] our invitation" to attend.
At the same time both Politico and The Hill, among others, reported on the planned visit. It wasn't a surprise to anyone. As far as people knowing about Obama's attendance in advance, there was no "brouhaha."
Bream's overarching premise - that the "brouhaha" over the previous meeting caused the current meeting's cancellation - also falls apart as the Senate GOP leadership's spokesman explained that "The meeting was scheduled for November 30th, because it didn't work this week and because that's the date that worked for everybody -- period." According to washingtonpost.com's Greg Sargent, "I have not been able to find a single GOP aide who actually subscribes to the 'ambush' myth, either on or off the record."
There was no ambush, there was no brouhaha, and the cancellation wasn't caused by worry over the nonexistent previous brouhaha. Everything Bream said about this was untrue.
Goldline is a major sponsor of Glenn Beck's radio and TV shows for which he has personally recorded testimonials. Recently, the precious metal company has been probed by Rep. Anthony Weiner, and the firm is under investigation by district attorneys in Los Angeles and Santa Monica for allegedly deceptive business practices.
One of Beck's stock defenses of Goldline is that they have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and thus cannot be involved in anything shady. But in May, Mother Jones reported that a company's ratings from BBB may be tied in to whether that firm pays to join the bureau.
Tonight, ABC News confirmed Mother Jones' investigation:
ABC's Brian Ross reports on widespread complaints from business owners about issues with the BBB ratings stem. The story also notes that a nonexistent sushi restaurant received an "A-" from BBB, while celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck received an "F," which he says is a result of refusing to pay the bureau. A business owner working with ABC saw her business go from a "C" to a "A+" the day after she gave money to BBB.
Ross further reports that Stormfront, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "popular online forum for white nationalists and other racial extremists" received an "A+" from the BBB. Just like Goldline.
It will be interesting to see whether Beck chooses to ignore this report, or finds a way to work it into the conspiracy he claims is arrayed against Goldline.
UPDATE: ABC's 20/20 ran a longer version of this story, which can be seen below:
Glenn Beck conspiracy time today roped in the American Constitution Society (ACS), who made the cardinal sin (in Beck's eyes) of receiving funding from the Open Society Institute.
BECK:He has donated more than $14 million to a group here in America called the American Constitution Society. Well that sounds great. Except this is a progressive legal group, with an area of focus on constitutional interpretation and change. The Constitution can be changed. But you do it not in the shadows. You do it not being invisible. You don't hide who you are. You change it through the amendment process.