Beck's desperate guilt by association: Obama's mom, Geithner's dad, a bank ... and hamburgers?

Glenn Beck spent a surprisingly large chunk of his May 20 Fox News show -- literally, the last half of it -- outlining the allegedly nefarious connections between the financially troubled Chicago-based ShoreBank and, well, pretty much anyone who might possibly be linked to President Obama, however far removed that link might be.

When you spend a half-hour or so drawing connections as Beck did, you you're going to end up padding things out with connections that look, shall we say, desperate. Oh, and Beck threw a few false claims into the mix.

(For those of you not inclined to spend 25 minutes of your life watching Beck play guilt-by-association -- and, frankly, we don't blame you, though we've clipped the highlights below -- you can read at your leisure this Big Government post from which Beck in large part cribbed his presentation.)

Beck began by highlighting the bank's co-founder as the only banker to testify in favor the Community Reinvestment Act in the 1970s, which “is really kind of a Cloward and Piven kind of scheme that really led to all of the things that we're now having to bail banks out for.” Actually, it didn't. This somehow led to the Clintons and then to ACORN, because ACORN was founded in Arkansas, where Bill Clinton is from.

Regarding a vice president of the bank, Beck noted that she was Hillary Clinton's college roommate, but also found it significant that she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a notorious focal point for conspiracy theorists like Beck. Another bank official was on a committee at the University of Chicago Law School -- “I wonder if [Obama] knows Bob?” Beck pondered -- and also on the board of a group that received money from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, in which Obama and Bill Ayers was involved.

The links got more tangential as Beck went on. Another bank board member worked for a company co-owned by Tony Rezko. “Didn't he, like, give, like an amazing deal on Barack Obama's house?” Beck asked. No, he didn't.

Beck moved on to another bank official who -- let's see if we got this straight -- not only gave advice to Obama's mother on microlending, but she also worked on the issue at the Ford Foundation with Tim Geithner's father. Got that?

Beck was particularly concerned that Van Jones has an account at the bank, even though he doesn't live in Chicago. Apparently Beck has never heard of online banking, which ShoreBank offers.

Beck's piece de resistance, though, was his exposure of the financial firms who have decided to help bail out the bank, teasing the heck out of one particular firm before finally revealing it: General Electric. “Circle complete,” Beck pronounced. What “circle” that is and how it is “complete,” Beck did not explain.

By the way, it wasn't exactly General Electric itself that lent money to ShoreBank; it was GE Capital, the company's financial division. GE Capital lends money to a large variety of companies, from pharmaceutical companies to Borders bookstores to the Five Guys hamburger chain. Are drugs, books, and burgers also a part of the nebulous “circle” Beck has drawn?

Then again, Beck did work Tim Geithner's father into his massive conspiracy, even though he has as much to do with all this as Five Guys. We will stay tuned to where Beck takes this, though -- we can't wait to find out where the burgers fit in.