Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Petition: Fire Glenn Beck

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On his Fox show yesterday, Glenn Beck asked, "do you really believe that I could...just make things up and remain on the air?" He proceeded to make up facts about the health care insurance reform legislation, American food safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act and repeated an old lie about former SEIU president, Andy Stern. In response to earlier programs that smeared billionaire philanthropist, George Soros, mentioned again during this episode, the Jewish Funds for Justice organization are circulating a petition to have Glenn Beck fired. Since Glenn Beck makes up "things," shouldn't you consider sending Rupert Murdoch a message to give Beck what Beck thinks Beck deserves, a notice of termination from Fox? Consider what Beck made up in just one episode.

has problems with facts

During this episode Beck claimed, "it was SEIU's then-president Andy Stern, the most frequent visitor to the White House by far, who pushed for the tactic known as deem and pass. That gave the final passage of Obamacare." The Review has previously exposed Beck's lie about Stern being "the most frequent visitor to the White House." The health care insurance reform bill did not pass the House from the tactic "known as deem and pass." McClatchey Newspapers reported on March 20th that "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Democrats abandoned 'deem and pass' because the party leadership is confident that the votes to pass the health care bill."

After misinforming his viewers about food safety in the United States, Beck then encouraged his viewers to call their Senators to have them vote against Food Safety Modernization Act. First, Beck downplayed the current dangers of food poisoning in the U.S.  He asked, "Is there a big problem that I don't know of? I mean, I know that, you know, we could always make things better here. There was a problem with spinach a couple of years ago, and then guacamole or avocados, or something. I think that was quickly resolved -- minimal to no interruption of our normal food supply." In fact over 5,000 people die of food poisoning every year in the United States. Yes, Mr. Beck, your ignorance is showing again.

Beck also claimed that the Food Safety Moderization Act "going to mean higher taxes for you as well. Congressional Budget Office estimates between $1.4 billion and up, between 2011 and 2015." What the CBO actually wrote was, "CBO estimates that implementing the bill with the manager's amendment would increase spending subject to appropriation, [not taxes] on net, by about $1.4 billion over the 2011-2015 period, assuming annual appropriation action consistent with the bill." The FDA would collect fees, not taxes, to defray the costs of performing the food safety activities.

Beck also claimed that this bill would result in higher food prices. One cannot lie or make false claims about the future. A prediction is just that, so the expert opinion of Craig Harris of the Food Safety Policy Center at Michigan State to the contrary is just that. Chances are, because of rising energy prices and decreased food production resulting from climate change, food prices will go up. Only during the current period of deflation have food prices remained fairly stable, and Beck lied about that last week. Living up to his reputation as a fear-monger however, Beck did make the absurd claim that the end result of this bill would be "starvation." How is that not something that Beck just made up? The bill passed in the Senate today 73-25. 

Because of Beck's despicable assault two weeks ago on George Soros, a petition is being circulated calling on Fox News owner, Rupert Murdoch, to fire Glenn Beck. Since Beck "makes things up" fairly routinely, would it not make sense to fire him? If Fox were a genuine news network and not a propaganda outlet for conservatives and reactionaries, it's a good guess that Beck would have been fired after calling the President a racist last year. Still, it doesn't hurt to let Mr. Rupert know that deception and character assassinations have no place on television. Get involved. Please, click on this logo and sign the petition to have Beck fired. It may not do any good, but it can't hurt.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Glenn Beck, meet Godwin's Law

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The following post is being reprinted with permission by Fox News Boycott dot com.

Godwin’s Law, also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies, is defined as follows:
[A] humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 which has become an Internet adage. It states: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” The term Godwin’s law can also refer to the tradition that whoever makes such a comparison is said to “lose” the debate.
It is an ad hominem argument and logical fallacy that is known as Reductio ad Hitlerum, or “reduction or argument to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis,” which is sometimes used to play the “Nazi Card,” analogous to the “Race Card.” Basically, it used like this:“Hitler (or the Nazis) supported X, therefore X must be evil/undesirable/bad.” It is also related to the fallacy of Guilt By Association, another tactic commonly used by Beck.
just one way Beck loses his arguments
If you’re familiar with Glenn Beck’s style of “journalism,” you know that he not only uses guilt by association and the negative proof fallacy, but also has exhibited ample use of Godwin’s Law. Here are 14 examples, courtesy Media Matters for America:
  1. Beck: “This is what Hitler did with the SS.”
  2. Beck: “I’m not comparing” Obama to Hitler, but asked his audience to “please read Mein Kampf” and learn from Germany’s mistakes.
  3. Beck cited Hitler to attack Obama, claim “[e]mpathy leads you to very bad decisions.”
  4. Beck told Newsmax: “I fear a Reichstag moment.”
  5. Beck links health care reform to Nazis, suggests reform would kill elderly and newborns.
  6. Beck compared car dealership closures to Nazism, warning “at some point, they’re going to come for you.”
  7. Beck compared auto bailouts to the actions of German companies “in the early days of Adolf Hitler.”
  8. Beck compared TARP to “what happened to the lead-up with Hitler.”
  9. Beck said “the Germans” during Hitler’s rise “were an awful lot like we are now.”
  10. Beck airs photos of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, asks, “Is this where we’re headed?”
  11. Beck repeatedly compared Gore to a Nazi propagandist.
  12. Beck has also attacked progressive organizations as “brownshirts.”
  13. Beck compared Fox News to Jews during Holocaust, other news organizations to silent bystanders.
  14. Beck compares media portrayal of “tea partygoers” to Nazi portrayal of “complainers.”
There are plenty of other examples of Beck linking current activities to Nazis shown on the Media Matters website. Following is a chart showing the number of times Beck has brought up various subjects.
The United States is under threat from extremely reactionary and violent Islamic terrorists who get mentioned by Glenn Beck less than 3% of the time than the now defunct ACORN, an American, urban, anti-poverty group. Beck doesn't just lose arguments (according to Godwin's Law), he has severely misplaced priorities.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Beck instructs his minions to ruin Thanksgiving dinner with lies and misinformation

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This week on his Fox show, Glenn Beck encouraged his listeners to broach the subject of food inflation and other political issues with family members this holiday without "talking about politics" or telling anyone, "Glenn Beck said...." (Apparently Beck is aware of the toxicity of his name.) As usual, Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog of conservative media, is on top of the distortions and lies that Beck is telling his minions to spread over Thanksgiving dinner. One has to wonder how many of his ardent subjects were told that the price of turkey was 1/3rd to 1/4 the cost it was last year, putting to rest Beck's misinformation with common information. Media Matters offers the facts in counter-point to Beck's false assertions.

While advising his Fox News viewers to talk about inflation at their Thanksgiving dinners, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that the government removed food and energy prices from its measure of inflation to hide rising prices, that a survey showed economists are "worried" about inflation, and that Social Security recipients are not receiving a cost-of-living adjustment because the government "changed the calculation."

Beck claims government is hiding inflation by removing food and energy prices from its estimate

Charlatan, liar or both?

Beck: Government removed "food and energy" from inflation estimate so that people wouldn't "recognize how bad things actually were." From the November 22 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Then, you can say things like, "Did you know that Ben Bernanke is saying that we should be worrying about deflation?" Here he is:
BERNANKE [video clip]: -- rates of inflation, the constraint imposed by the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is too tight. The short-term real interest rate is too high, given the state of the economy, and the risk of deflation is higher than desirable.
BECK: Ah, yeah. OK. George Soros says the same thing. He says in "spooky dude" voice, it is -- "It is the U.S. that is not in the position of Europe's heavily indebted countries, which must pay heavy premiums over the price at which Germany can borrow. Interest rates on U.S. government bonds have been falling and are near record lows, which means the financial markets anticipate deflation, not inflation, and I'm a spooky dude."
All right. They don't care. And you know what? George Soros and Ben Bernanke ain't going out and doing the shopping. Mom and Grandma are. Your wife is.
And inflation isn't even computed like it used to be computed. The government figured it out. The government realized that people could recognize how bad things actually were, so they changed how we calculated it. So, in other words, the TV could say, "There's no inflation," and you'd be going, "I'm broke. How's that happening?"
Now, they calculate inflation without adding in the price of food and energy. Oh, well, other than those going up, we're set.
Eric Bolling recently made similar claim on Beck's show. During the November 18 edition of Beck's Fox News show, Fox Business host Eric Bolling stated:
BOLLING: The government will tell you, people will tell that you we don't even have inflation. The reason for that is because the government puts out an inflation number that removes food and energy. How convenient, right? Because the only two things that we really use every day -- food and energy. So you remove that and things don't look that [inaudible] bad.

In fact, BLS provides inflation figures that do include food and energy

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index includes food and energy prices. Contrary to Beck's claim, the government does provide inflation estimates that include food and energy prices through the All Items Consumer Price Index (CPI). In its most recent CPI report, BLS stated: "The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today." From the Bureau of Labor Statistics website:
The CPI represents all goods and services purchased for consumption by the reference population (U or W) BLS has classified all expenditure items into more than 200 categories, arranged into eight major groups. Major groups and examples of categories in each are as follows:
  • FOOD AND BEVERAGES (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals, snacks)
  • HOUSING (rent of primary residence, owners' equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture)
  • APPAREL (men's shirts and sweaters, women's dresses, jewelry)
  • TRANSPORTATION (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance)
  • MEDICAL CARE (prescription drugs and medical supplies, physicians' services, eyeglasses and eye care, hospital services)
  • RECREATION (televisions, toys, pets and pet products, sports equipment, admissions);
  • EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION (college tuition, postage, telephone services, computer software and accessories);
  • OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES (tobacco and smoking products, haircuts and other personal services, funeral expenses).
The CPI does not include investment items, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and life insurance. (These items relate to savings and not to day-to-day consumption expenses.)
BLS also states that the "prominent legislated uses of the CPI," such as Social Security benefits, individual income tax parameters and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities are based on the "All Items" indices, which include food and energy prices.
BLS also provides numbers that exclude food and energy, and has done so since the 1950s. The BLS website further states:
In addition to the All Items CPI, BLS publishes thousands of other consumer price indexes. One such index is called "All items less food and energy". Some users of CPI data use this index because food and energy prices are relatively volatile, and these users want to focus on what they perceive to be the "core" or "underlying" rate of inflation.
Contrary to Beck's claim that the government is only "now" providing an estimate that excludes food and energy prices, the BLS records have data for this statistic going back to January 1957. Its most recent monthly report states, "The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in October, the third month in a row with no change," and, "Over the last 12 months, the index for all items less food and energy has risen 0.6 percent, the smallest 12-month increase in the history of the index, which dates to 1957." [Emphasis added]
San Francisco Fed: Food and energy price changes "may not be related to a trend change in the economy's overall price level." According to the BLS, economic analysts closely watch "core" CPI, which excludes food and energy, "under the belief that food and energy prices are volatile and are subject to price shocks that cannot be damped through monetary policy." The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco also explains: "One common way economists use inflation data is by looking at 'core inflation,' which is generally defined as a chosen measure of inflation ... that excludes the more volatile categories of food and energy prices." The document further states:
Why are food and energy prices typically more volatile than other prices?
To understand why the categories of food and energy are more sensitive to price changes, consider environmental factors that can ravage a year's crops, or fluctuations in the oil supply from the OPEC cartel. Each is an example of a supply shock that may affect the prices for that product. However, although the prices of those goods may frequently increase or decrease at rapid rates, the price disturbances may not be related to a trend change in the economy's overall price level. Instead, changes in food and energy prices often are more likely related to temporary factors that may reverse themselves later.
PolitiFact: 2010 has been a year of "relatively low inflation for food." PolitiFact.com stated on November 10:
During the 12-month period ending in September 2010, we found that the CPI showed food costs rising 1.4 percent -- exactly as [Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep] Reddy said they did. For some historical context, we also looked back a couple years. We found that for the year ending in September 2009, food prices dropped two-tenths of 1 percent; for the year ending in September 2008, food prices rose by 6 percent; and for the year ending in September 2007, food prices rose by 4.4 percent. So 2009 and 2010 have indeed been years of relatively low inflation for food. (Here's a chart Reddy provided us showing some of the data he used.)
While Beck frequently highlights certain commodities that have recently increased in price, he ignores those that have decreased. As PolitiFact explained:
CPI data showed that the price of butter increased by 19.1 percent during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2010, while the price of bacon rose by 15.7 percent, lamb increased by 9.4 percent and milk increased by 8.3 percent. Meanwhile, BEA statistics show that certain broad food categories rose faster than the food-sector average: a 3.4 percent increase for meats and poultry, a 3.4 percent bump for milk, dairy products and eggs; and a 2.8 percent hike for sweets and sugar.
All of these items, in other words, rose a whole lot faster than food inflation generally. And it's simply human nature for a consumer to feel like prices are rising quickly if you have to pay increases like that every time you enter the checkout line. As long as you're paying through the nose for milk, the brain tends to forget that the dried lentils you just bought are down 5.5 percent, and the peanut butter you just bought is down 5.1 percent.
Indeed, in its most recent monthly report, the BLS stated that the food index rose 0.1 percent in October and that dairy products and meats increased in price, while fruits, vegetables, nonalcoholic beverages, cereals, and bakery products declined.

Beck claimed NABE survey shows economists are "worried about inflation"

Beck suggests NABE survey confirms his warnings about inflation. From the November 22 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Nonprofit food distribution agencies are struggling at record-breaking pace this year. Their demand is outrageous. This is a picture from Northwest Washington, D.C. There were 3,000 people that waited in line for grocery handouts. Three thousand people. Bread lines. Do you remember breadlines? They're back in America in 2010.
Reuters said over the weekend -- the Reuters said that economists is worried about U.S. inflation. Now, hang on just a second. Inflation? I've heard the Fed, Bernanke say that -- no, no, no, we're not worried - we're worried about deflation. But a national survey for the National Association for Business Economics [NABE] ranked inflation a bigger worry than deflation. Sure, your house may deflate in price, but everything else is going to go up.

In fact, the survey said economists project "low inflation" through 2011

NABE survey: "Growth Projections Remain Sluggish: Continued High Unemployment with Low Inflation." Contrary to Beck's claim that the survey showed economists are worried about inflation, NABE itself released the survey with the headline: "Growth Projections Remain Sluggish: Continued High Unemployment with Low Inflation."
NABE survey: Concerns about inflation "are overshadowed by other issues." The results of the survey don't appear to justify the Reuters headline that Beck relied on, which stated: "Economists worried about U.S. inflation: survey." In fact, the survey found that while NABE panelists ranked "inflation" as a greater worry than "deflation," "both concerns are overshadowed by other issues, such as the federal debt, high unemployment, and increased business regulation." From the survey:
Panelists are sanguine about avoiding deflation. For example, core PCE inflation (excluding the volatile food and energy components) is predicted to rise gradually from a projected 1 percent at year-end 2010 to 1.5 percent by the end of next year. When asked about their level of concern about prices, NABE panelists continue to rank "inflation" as a greater worry than "deflation," but both concerns are overshadowed by other issues, such as the federal debt, high unemployment, and increased business regulation. In addition, roughly a third of panelists view the Federal Reserve's recently announced plans to purchase additional longer-term Treasury securities as "somewhat diminishing the risk of deflation." Another third view these plans as "somewhat increasing the risk of undesirable inflation." Finally, panelists increased their forecast for oil prices somewhat for both 2010 and 2011.
Reuters: Economists surveyed forecast consumer inflation to remain "below the Fed's considered comfort zone." From the Reuters report:
About a third of NABE panelists view the Fed's second asset purchasing program as somewhat lessening the risks of deflation, while another 33 percent saw the step as risking inflation.
Still, they forecast the Fed's preferred measure of consumer inflation -- the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy -- to rise to 1.5 percent by the end of 2011 from a projected 1.0 percent this year.
That is below the Fed's considered comfort zone between 1.7 percent and 2.0 percent. Inflation remains subdued as the economy slowly recovers from the worst recession since the 1930s. Core consumer prices rose 0.6 percent in October from a year ago, the smallest increase since records started in 1957.

Beck claimed government changed Social Security COLA calculation

Beck: Retirees aren't getting COLA because "they changed the calculation." From the November 22 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: Hey, Grandma. Things are getting more expensive. Ask this question: "Is your Social Security check going up to cover the costs next year?" The answer is no. Why? Because they changed the calculation. If costs are going up 30 percent on energy and food and other essentials, how does Grandma make ends meet? How does she do that? She doesn't.

In fact, since 1975, a formula has dictated COLA payments

AP: Social Security cost-of-living adjustments "are automatically set each year by an inflation measure." The Washington Post reported on October 16 government officials' announcement that "the nearly 54 million retirees and other Americans who receive Social Security benefits will not get any cost-of-living increase in 2011 in their monthly checks." This outcome was determined by a long-standing formula, as explained by the Associated Press:
The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are automatically set each year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back in the 1970s. Based on inflation so far this year, the trustees who oversee Social Security project there will be no COLA for 2011.
Federal law requires the Social Security Administration to base annual payment increases on the consumer price index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which measures inflation. Officials compare inflation in the third quarter of each year -- the months of July, August and September -- with the same months in the previous year.
If inflation increases from year to year, Social Security recipients automatically get higher payments, starting in January. If inflation is negative, the payments stay unchanged.
Social Security payments increased by 5.8% in 2009, the largest increase in 27 years, after energy prices spiked in 2008.
But energy prices quickly dropped. For example, average gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008. But by January 2009, they had fallen below $2. Today, the national average is roughly $2.70 a gallon.
As a result, Social Security recipients got an increase in 2009 that was far larger than actual inflation. However, they won't get another increase until inflation exceeds the level measured in 2008. The Social Security trustees project that will happen next year, resulting in a small increase in benefits for 2012.
Social Security spokesman Mark Lassiter said the agency has no leeway to increase payments if the inflation measurement doesn't call for it.
Democrats have proposed $250 payment to make up for lack of COLA. As the AP reported on October 15, President Obama and the Democrats called for a $250 bonus payment to Social Security recipients after the Social Security Administration announced that "inflation has been too low since the last increase in 2009 to warrant a raise for 2011." The issue could reportedly come up during Congress' lame-duck session. Obama called for a similar payment in October 2009, since there similarly was no COLA that year.
At the time, Beck said that the payment for Social Security recipients was part of a culture of dependency on government handouts. From the October 20, 2009, edition of his Fox News show (from Nexis):
BECK: Progressives have been fighting for decades to achieve the power to decide for you, and erase the Republicans, now they just want to call it a democracy. They've come a long, long way, bit by bit, piece by piece, they have been chipping away your individual freedoms. We call them progressives now, but back in Samuel Adams' day, they used to call them tyrants. A little later, I think they're also called slave owners -- people that encourage you to become more dependent on them, and it's working.
I mean, when you were growing up, would you ever, ever remember seeing your town, people flocking to government offices over rumors of stimulus checks being handed out? Did you? Well, that's exactly what happened in Detroit. All the lines -- yeah, those lines, that's rumors of free money, Obama cash. It also happened in New York and Ohio.
BECK: And I'm danger to the republic. Nothing better than free government money that we don't know where it came from and we cheer every time they do it. We cheer for cash for clunkers. We cheer for the ASPIRE Act, that's $500 savings accounts for all babies born in the U.S. We cheer for the $250 check Obama writes for Social Security recipients, like little mice we cheer at the crumb that we get off the table. It's no longer "Ask what you can do for your country, it's what's Obama going to give me?"
Review conclusion: Multiple false claims are just another day on the job for Mr. Beck. One can argue whether Beck is ignorant of the facts or purposely spreading lies. If the former is the case, then he is not qualified to have the platform that FoxPAC owner, Rupert Murdoch, pays Beck to use. If the latter is the case, then Beck is a liar. Charlatan or liar? Only Beck knows for sure, and he's not talking (about it).
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rachel Maddow exposes one of Beck's lies about war veterans

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Last week on his premier radio program, Glenn Beck attacked a veteran's organization, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Rachel Maddow responded to Beck's assault on this honorable veteran's group.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What is strange about this on Beck's part is his supposed homage that he pays to veterans. Not only is Beck lying about this honorable organization, but it's pretty hypocritical for Beck to launch an assault on a veteran's group without first verifying the information that Denise conveyed.

This is not unlike how Beck's followers accept what Beck claims without doing any real fact checking...even though Beck tells them to. Beck demonstrates his gullibility is much like his followers. Beck is a tool of Rupert Murdoch, and Beck's followers are tools of Beck or more accurately, tools for Beck. "Libertarian" Beck is frequently telling his sheep how to act, even (on his Fox show of 11/22) what to talk about while visiting relatives this Thanksgiving. By doing so, Beck figuratively steps on the Gadsen flag. 
Ironic, huh?
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