Emma Mustich at Salon raises an interesting point: Is Glenn Beck planning to liquidate the U.S. government and seize a position of absolute power? If it seems like a stretch, keep in mind that Beck has basically already laid out a plan for how he might do this--though he's attributed all the diabolical scheming to someone else.

On Tuesday, during a show devoted to the supposed nefarious influence of businessman and philanthropist George Soros, Beck explained the five-step process by which someone like Soros could kneecap American democracy and route power to himself. First "you form a shadow government," says Beck; then "you control the airwaves"; then you "destabilize the state" by causing "a political or economic crisis or you take advantage of an existing crisis." Then you "provoke an election crisis," and finally "stage massive demonstrations." Presto! State control.

But hang on, says Mustich. Couldn't you make the case that Beck himself already does all of these things? "Speaking of shadow governments," writes Mustich, "couldn't we apply that term to the role that Fox News--which, in case you missed it, now employs just about every major prospective opposition party presidential candidate--has been playing since January 2009?" And what are Beck's endorsements of gold-coin retailer Goldline if not an attempt to take advantage of an existing economic crisis? As for "massive demonstrations," Mustich dryly asks: "You are familiar with the Restoring Honor rally, aren't you?"





It's worth noting that while Soros is no fan of Fox News, there's little evidence to suggest that he's engaged in the kind of Bond-supervillain-esque machinations Beck is describing. Meanwhile, and more seriously, a number of Jewish organizations have condemned Beck this week for accusing Soros of collaborating with Nazis as a 13-year-old. This, say the detractors, is a huge mischaracterization of "the experience of a 13 year old Jew in Nazi-occupied Hungary whose father hid him with a non-Jewish family to keep him alive." Soros himself hasn't offered comment, just has Beck hasn't responded to the charge that he looks, by his own definition, a lot like a megalomanical mastermind.