Beck's cap-and-trade conspiracy is delusional and stupid and wrong

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Today on the radio, Glenn Beck issued a direct challenge to Media Matters regarding the so-called facts behind his delusional and stupid cap-and-trade conspiracy theory:

Beck's right -- it can't be enough merely to call something "delusional and stupid," even if it is self-evidently so. Since he asked for it, let's correct a couple of "facts" that Beck brought to bear in defense of his delusional and stupid theory.

Last night, Beck made a big deal over a patent that Fannie Mae obtained in 2006 for a system for monitoring and trading reductions in residential carbon emissions -- the "technology" that, in Beck's view, enables the grand criminal enterprise that is cap-and-trade to operate:

BECK: So, under the leadership of Franklin Raines, they find the technology. Now, Franklin Raines is at Fannie Mae.

Do you remember Fannie Mae? Fannie Mae is currently one of the bad guys that everybody is saying, wait a minute, why is Goldman Sachs just being hung out to dry? Why isn't Freddie or Fannie?

Fannie Mae is the mortgage industry that has bundled up mortgages like crazy and created a lot of the problems that we have. In fact, Franklin Raines is a really bad dude. Franklin Raines, you might remember him from the Clinton administration. So we have some ties to Clinton now.

The Clinton administration, he ran the office of management for the budget, he's now running Fannie Mae for five years. In that five-year period, Franklin Raines, your tax dollars, makes $90 million -- in a five- year period, $90 million. His take.

He's also the guy -- you might remember the stories -- he inflated the earnings of Fannie so he could get those bonuses. Well, it went to court and everything else and he had to pay -- how much did he have to pay back? None of which I think he actually paid back, but they sure slapped him on the hands.

Well, while he's at Fannie Mae, somebody comes to his attention that has technology, a patent. It hasn't received its patent yet, but it's going to, gosh darn it. As soon as the Democrats are elected -- in fact, this technology receives its patent the day after in 2006, the very next day that Congress was taken over by the Democrats. What a weird coincidence, hmm? I'm sure that's all it is.

So, he finds this technology and he buys it. The people at Fannie Mae say, why are we buying this? We're for mortgages. We're for homes. He says, no, no, no.

So, step number three: technology. We have the exchange, we have our investors, we have the technology. Now, we need the law.

Two things to point out here.

First: Fannie Mae was awarded the patent on November 7, 2006. Franklin Raines stepped down as CEO of Fannie Mae in December 2004 -- almost a full two years before Fannie Mae obtained the patent. So Beck's implication that Fannie obtained the patent while Raines was at its helm is wrong.

Second: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is part of the Commerce Department, so it's unclear how a shift in the partisan makeup of Congress would influence the process by which they award patents, as Beck appears to suggest. What's more, the Democrats did not "take over" Congress on November 6, 2006. They won a bunch of elections on that day, but did not actually assume control of that body until January 2007, up to which point they had no additional authority.

But let's assume that the Democrats somehow did magically take control of Congress on November 6 -- are we really supposed to believe that the very first thing they did after being out of power for over a decade was lean on the Patent Office to issue a patent for an emissions trading system to Fannie Mae?

Of course, I'm just assuming that this is what Beck is alleging because he never actually says why it's significant that the patent was awarded on November 7. He just implies that it's shady. The fact that he doesn't say why is a pretty good indication that he has no idea what he's talking about.

And that's just what I found during a quick read-through of the transcript.

I might also note that this pokes a hole in Beck's ancillary theory that everything he says must be true because rich guy Rupert Murdoch would never allow made-up stuff on his airwaves. But that one never really had a whole lot going for it anyway.

Glenn Beck
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