At one point on his Wednesday show, Glenn Beck said "my head hurts trying to figure this out." That was in reference to another one of his conspiracy theories, but it often feels like a universal maxim when dealing with Beck's seemingly infinite fantasies.
Today Beck said that President Obama deliberately waited 71 days to accept international help with the Gulf oil spill. Why? Because he wanted to create a crisis situation in order to pass cap and trade through Congress. That, on it's face, doesn't make much sense, but it's also just wrong factually.
Like every other conspiracy Beck promotes, this one falls apart pretty quickly. International help has been accepted in the clean up for some time now, despite the claims of Beck and others at Fox News, and Admiral Thad Allen, who is in charge of the operation, has indicated that there are 15 foreign vessels involved in the clean up. Allen noted this 15 days ago, and the ships had been operating before that.
The main point of Beck's conspiracy, that President Obama was just now accepting foreign help in order to pass cap and trade (somehow), just isn't true. Beck pumping out this kind of unsubstantiated conspiracy every night really does make your head hurt.
On his show tonight, Sean Hannity said it was "numbing" that Elena Kagan "cannot say no" to Sen. Tom Coburn's question about whether the federal government could mandate what kind of food people should eat. As Hannity noted, the question does have parallels to the health care reform law and possible legal challenges to the constitutionality of the law that could come before the Supreme Court. In other words, Kagan declined to directly respond on an issue that could come before her, should her nomination be successful.
During Beck's latest bizarre parody/rant today about GDP and Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, you may have missed him acknowledging the source of his information.
Beck said, "I want to thank Charles Koch for this information." Who is Charles Koch? Beck never said, but Charles Koch is the CEO and president of Koch Industries. Koch is also a co-founder of the conservative Cato Institute (Cato Institute representatives have appeared earlier this year on Beck advocating the privatization of Social Security and Medicare).
Koch Industries is in the manufacturing industry and is heavily involved in the petroleum, chemicals and energy sectors. Forbes magazine currently ranks Koch as the second largest private company in America. In 2000, Koch Industries was ordered to pay a "record fine" by the EPA and the Justice Department for claims resulting from "more than 300 oil spills from its pipelines and oil facilities in six states." In 2001 Koch paid a legal settlement of $25 million for "improperly taking more oil than it paid for from federal and Indian lands." In 2009, Koch broke their own record when a subsidiary had to pay "a $1.7 million civil penalty and spend up to an estimated $500 million to correct self-reported environmental violations discovered at facilities in seven states."
Suddenly it becomes quite clear what sort of people are providing Glenn Beck with research in order to parody work about climate change research.
On today's edition of Fox News' America Live, Megyn Kelly opined that because of a 15 year old book review she wrote, "it would be really hard" for Elena Kagan to refuse to answer questions at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings:
From the June 28 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Gang, when we started Politico, we said we'd try to be more transparent about how we do our work than is typically the case at the traditional news organizations where we used to work. Transparency should mean being less defensive about criticism, and/but also more candid in saying what we really think.
Something must have happened in the intervening years, because it seems Politico is no longer interested in being transparent about their work. The Columbia Journalism Review made an inquiry about a pair of paragraphs that Politico removed from a story without any sort of notation explaining the decision. Their response?
Politico managing editor Bill Nichols declined to discuss the deletion with me or to send on a version of the article as it was originally published--making it quite difficult to tell how extensively the article was revised or "updated" beyond this excision.
"[W]e don't get into why we make editing decisions," Nichols wrote in a brief email.
That's a far cry from the Politico's previous stance on transparency from a few years ago and definitely more defensive than Harris promised.
When you hear the name "Glenn Beck," the phrases that most often come to mind are likely to be "rodeo clown," "conspiracy theorist," demagogue, and most recently, "bad writer." But one description that probably never pops up is "civil rights activist." And yet, that is what Beck has been attempting lately, propping up his conspiracy theories and right-wing politics on the legacy of civil rights activist and American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
After making negative comments about the military's civilian leadership (including President Obama) to Rolling Stone magazine, top Afghanistan general Stanley McChrystal is heading to Washington,apparently to apologize. It is worth noting that two years ago, during the Bush administration, Admiral William Fallon was in a similar situation and was pushed to resign, as Armed Forces Journal reported:
While the administration and Fallon may not have differed in the objectives of the policy towards Iraq and Iran, they differed in their approach. The Esquire article highlighted comments the admiral made to the Arab television station Al-Jazeera. "This constant drumbeat of conflict ... is not helpful and not useful," Fallon was quoted as saying. "I expect there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for."
Fallon was also criticized for telling Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that the U.S. would not attack Iran. This became a banner headline in the Egyptian Gazette and landed him in trouble with the White House. Additionally, White House officials were concerned about the reported friction between Fallon and Army Gen. David Petraeus, then U.S. commander in Iraq.
The Esquire story was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. On March 11, 2008, only one week after the Esquire article was discussed in The Washington Post, Fallon announced his resignation, calling reports of such disagreements an untenable "distraction."
From the Washington Post's report of Fallon's retirement:
Fallon, 63, had made several comments reflecting disagreement with the administration's stance on Iran, most recently in an Esquire magazine article last week that portrayed him as the only person who might stop Bush from going to war with the Islamic republic.
"Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president's policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time," Fallon said in a statement. Though he denied that any discrepancies exist, he said "it would be best to step aside and allow" Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates "and our military leaders to move beyond this distraction."
Right-wing media figures have repeatedly claimed that it's "time we stopped blaming Bush" in discussions of the Gulf oil spill. However, under the Bush administration, federal offshore drilling regulators relaxed regulatory standards and were plagued by ethics scandals.
Following Rep. Joe Barton's apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for what he characterized as a "shakedown" by the White House in negotiating for an escrow fund to pay for the after effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, conservatives on Twitter had something of a fight.