Glenn Beck, responding to the White House's request that anonymous donors to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's campaign efforts be disclosed, has gone all in in his defense of the group. On his radio show and online, Beck solicited contributions for the Chamber, declaring them "our parents, our grandparents -- they are us."
On his radio show, Beck said "I would like to make this the biggest fundraising day in the Chamber's history" and told his employees to promote the Chamber on GlennBeck.com and his news site, TheBlaze.com, and "get somebody on the phone" from the group. Beck asked his callers to donate "if you are as sick as I am of this lot" (referring to President Obama), and said that the Obama administration "hates" the Chamber as much "as I hate Woodrow Wilson."
On his radio show today, Glenn Beck addressed the recent controversy around House Republican candidate Rich Iott, who reportedly dresses up in Nazi clothing for World War II re-enactments:
Beck was incredulous that this could be a campaign issue, arguing that Iott's dressing up as a Nazi was comparable to dressing up like Darth Vader or playing cowboys and Indians. Really?
I think it's safe to say that a candidate for public office wearing Nazi gear is probably relevant, and the context in which he's doing this is equally worth understanding. The Atlantic's Joshua Green explains:
Their main defense--it's also Iott's defense--is that donning Nazi uniforms and pretending to fight is somehow "educational" and reflects only an interest in history. The problem with this defense is that it's categorically false, because these re-enactments downplay or simply ignore the most historically significant fact about the Nazis: the Holocaust. I spent a good deal of time on the Wiking website, the outfit that Iott was part of, and didn't once see the words "Holocaust" or "Jew." Yes, there was a pro forma disclaimer that Nazis did some bad things. But the thrust of the "history" presented therein was devoted to glorifying the exploits and implicitly excusing the atrocities of the Waffen SS soldiers. Worse, a number of re-enactors have chastised me for quoting actual academic historians because, as one of them put it, "historians of the winning side always write history the way they see it," and only they--the grown men earnestly playing soldier in the forest--are the true authorities on Nazism. It's this perversion of history that's so troubling.
Beck's defense is even more nonsensical when you consider his history of seeing Nazis and socialists everywhere on the left. He sees these fictional connections -- can you imagine how much hay Beck would make of a progressive who chose to play dress up in this fashion? For goodness sake he spun an entire story out of an ornament that had Mao on it that the White House was unaware of.
Darth Vader is fictional, as is much of the romanticism around "cowboys and Indians." The Nazis were very real, like the unit that Iott and his group apparently play as. Nobody is arguing about Iott's right to engage in this activity, but as a candidate for public office the decision to portray one of the worst forces the world has ever faced - for recreation - is going to arouse scrutiny no matter how Beck tries to dismiss it.
Glenn Beck went into new territory this morning, telling his audience that he felt that possible "toxins" and "poisons" affecting his health could be traced to his studies of progressives. After detailing several recent health ailments he has been experiencing, he suggested that the "poisons" his doctors are looking for are linked to his attempts to "understand the minds of" progressives, which he termed "drinking that poison which others may not find poison but I do because it is exact opposite of me":
BECK: In the last 24 hours as I've been thinking about the doctor saying "we're looking for toxins, we're looking for poisons in your body," I know what they are. For four years, I have tried to understand the mind of what I believe are monsters. It started with Walter Lippman, the first book that I closed and said "I can't read this anymore" was Walter Lippman and it was about how they can breed better people and how there are undesirables. I never finished the book, that was the first one.
And for four years I have been trying to understand the minds of people that I ... I think are so misled. And they are the exact opposite of what I have tried to be, what I want to be, what I strive for. But I have done it because I have to, I have to understand it, I have to see what's... try to understand to explain what's coming, what's happening ... not for you, but for my children.
I believe we can be better people. I believe in the American experiment. But I also believe there are very misguided people and I have been drinking that poison which others may not find poison but I do because it is exact opposite of me. And I have been ... "that which you gaze upon you become" and I have been trying not to become that. And that is the internal struggle, and that is where I want to take it next. A warning to you and a... an ask for specific help on something, next.
Beck later denied believing "Van Jones and the left" poisoned him (a claim he said progressive media outlets would promote). But after acknowledging that "there is a physical reason for all of these" medical problems, he added that he feels his "physical wounds" may be a manifestation of "spiritual wounds."
Appearing on CNN's Parker/Spitzer on October 6, Dinesh D'Souza kept up his disinformation campaign about what role, if any, President Obama had in approving guarantees by the U.S. Export-Import bank to allow U.S. companies to sell machinery to Petrobras, a Brazilian oil and gas company.
ELIOT SPITZER (co-host): In your Forbes article, which was the -- sort of the Cliff Notes version of your book, if I could say so.
D'SOUZA: Well, the preview.
SPITZER: Right. The preview. Your first factual assertion relates to a guarantee that was made by the U.S. Export-Import Bank to permit some U.S. companies to sell machinery to a foreign oil company.
And you used that as the fulcrum for your whole debate. That approval was done by Bush appointees.
D'SOUZA: Well --
SPITZER: All done before Barack Obama was president.
D'SOUZA: That's absolutely not true.
SPITZER: No, it is.
D'SOUZA: We're talking about -- we're talking --
SPITZER: They were appointed by President Bush.
D'SOUZA: No, look, I worked in the White House. We know -- you know how the government works. Federal agencies often have leftover appointees. The Petrobras decision that was made by the Export-Import bank was in April or May of 2009. Obama was the president.
SPITZER: By five Bush appointees.
D'SOUZA: Well, the Bush appointees can propose it. But every federal agency is under the federal government.
SPITZER: Did the Bush appointees approve that?
D'SOUZA: They might have.
A report today from The Nation and The Investigative Fund said that Lou Dobbs "has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper." The article goes on to explain that The Dobbs Group, which owns the horses in question, "has relied on third parties to supply the labor he needs." It is these third parties that the magazine alleges have hired undocumented workers that have done work for Dobbs.
In his response to the story, Dobbs has stated, "I have never, nor has The Dobbs Group at any time, hired an illegal immigrant."
That isn't what The Nation is claiming. Dobbs is denying a charge that hasn't been made, apparently in an attempt to deflect from the story. The Nation even noted in their story that "Dobbs has heaped scorn on the government for using contractors that hire undocumented immigrants," which is the charge being made.
ABC News describes the exchange Dobbs had on his radio show with Isabel Macdonald, the author of the story:
Their conversation quickly turned into a confrontation:
Dobbs: "Did you say that I hired or my firm hired illegal immigrants?"
Macdonald: "I am saying that for years, undocumented immigrants looked after your show jumping horses, and for years, they looked after the grounds at your West Palm Beach estate in Florida. This article is fact-checked 100 percent, it is legally vetted."
Dobbs hammered Macdonald with questions but seemed loathe to offer any explanations himself. He suggested that if the workers he hired were illegal immigrants, he didn't know that.
Macdonald also noted to Dobbs, "You have actually contradicted not one single claim that was made in that article."
On his Twitter account and on his radio show, Dobbs claimed that The Nation "attacks my daughter" in the piece, and invoked the recent birth of his granddaughter. He complained that news organizations like CNN and the NY Daily News had picked up the story from a "left wing activist, advocacy publication."
Dobbs chose to deflect the story rather than answer the actual charges. He's made a name for himself on attacking institutions that do what he is accused of having done. But he didn't directly refute the story, choosing instead to parse words and attempt to elicit sympathy.
A few weeks ago we noted how The Weekly Standard invented a scandal, alleging that Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee had done something wrong by referencing the tax status of some of Koch Industries' businesses.
Goolsbee had commented, "So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses." The Weekly Standard's John McCormack suggested that Goolsbee may have illegally obtained this information by accessing the company's tax filings. Even Koch Industries wasn't willing to allege any wrongdoing on Goolsbee's part, and the information Goolsbee used is actually on Koch's own website.
Today Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe writes about a review of Goolsbee's comments by the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), triggered by Republican senators and apparently the Standard story:
Federal tax watchdogs plan to review allegations that Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee may have illegally accessed the confidential tax information of Koch Industries Inc., a privately held firm owned and operated by brothers Charles and David Koch, who generously bankroll conservative causes.
A group of Senate Republicans, led by Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), announced Wednesday that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration plans to review the allegations against Goolsbee. But TIGTA sources stressed the office is only reviewing the allegations and has not determined whether it will launch a more formal investigation.
O'Keefe adds this key information to his post:
Goolsbee's statement wasn't based on any review of the company's tax filings, but merely a repetition of something he recalled reading, the White House said.
Whether senior Senate Republicans really think one of President Obama's closest and most vocal economic advisers might have violated a federal law or are merely attempting to gin up controversy with just four weeks until midterm elections ... well, that's for y'all to discuss in the comments section below.
The Post wrote this story noting the political motivations behind it. If any other members of the media report on the issue, they will hopefully provide the full context around the allegations.
Appearing on Fox News' Happening Now, Fox Business' Charles Gasparino explained what he felt should be the criteria for voters to make their electoral choices this November:
Gasparino says that while he doesn't "endorse parties," voters should support candidates who voted "against the bank bailouts" and "believe we should have lower taxes," and let markets run the show, not government run the show." This makes Gasparino the third Fox Business hostto lay out a platform that details how he feels voters should make their decisions this fall.
A few days ago Fox Senior VP for Business News Neil Cavuto debuted his "2010 Platform," while Fox Business anchor David Asman has been asking guests to sign on to the "Scoreboard Pledge." All three platforms are of a conservative nature, asking for such initiatives as "no new taxes" (Asman), "lower taxes" (Gasparino), and "raising retirement age for Social Security" (Cavuto).
Yesterday, Alaska-based progressive blogger Jeanne Devon released what she said was a leaked e-mail from Sarah Palin's husband Todd to Miller and Sarah Palin PAC treasurer Tim Crawford. In the e-mail Palin appears to respond negatively to Miller's non-answer after Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked him during a September 19 interview, "Do you think that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and would you like to see her run?"
In the e-mail, Palin says:
Hold off on any letter for Joe. Sarah put her ass on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question "is Sarah Palin Qualified to be President". I DON'T KNOW IF SHE IS.
Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works, is it to be completely one sided.
This raises a few questions and concerns about Sarah Palin and her role at Fox News. For instance, here is Palin touting Joe Miller during an August 30 appearance on Fox News' Hannity:
The e-mail from Todd Palin, if authentic, seems to confirm that Sarah Palin is at least doing some early work towards running for president in 2012, while being employed by and regularly appearing on Fox News as a political analyst. At the same time, Palin is promoting candidates like Miller on-air at Fox, and according to the email, her husband at least seems to expect that when asked (by a Fox anchor) if Palin is qualified to be president, they should be answering in the affirmative.
If that's the case, it would mean Fox News is employing and promoting a presidential candidate while also providing a forum for endorsements of Palin by candidates she promotes on Fox News. There isn't any way such an arrangement could remotely be considered ethical.
And it gets even worse. According to conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain, a source "close to Palin" suggests that the e-mail was leaked from within the Miller campaign by what McCain calls "Huckabee loyalists" in order to discredit Palin. That would be Mike Huckabee, possible 2012 presidential candidate... and Fox News analyst/host.
UPDATE: In a release to The Weekly Standard, Todd Palin confirms the authenticity of the e-mail.
After a report on 2010 gubernatorial races, Fox News disclosed their parent company News Corp.'s donation of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. That's a good start, but in a report immediately after that disclosure, Carl Cameron did not report this donation in his report on the Connecticut governor's race.
By making this donation, News Corp. has a declared horse in these races, and every time they report on a gubernatorial election they should be disclosing that fact.
The Drudge Report links to a story about solar panels being installed at the White House, using a picture of President Jimmy Carter with White House solar panels in an attempt to link the two presidencies:
But before our friends in the right-wing media do the usual and echo Drudge, they should know that long before Obama was even on the national stage President George W. Bush followed in Carter's footsteps and had solar panels installed at the White House (the AP story Drudge links to notes this, but the right wing media often parrots Drudge's distortions without clicking through). From the New York Times, February 27, 2003:
Since September, a grid of 167 solar panels on the roof of a maintenance shed has been delivering electricity to the White House grounds. Another solar installation has been helping to provide hot water. Yet another has been keeping the water warm in the presidential pool.
It's also worth noting that President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, utilized "passive-solar" technology, described by the Department of Energy as a way that "[y]our home's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer."