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Questions have been raised as to whether Beck is sincerely looking out for his followers' best interests in warning them to stock up on gold coins --purchased from Goldline of course --if they expect to stay ahead of the impending Armageddon he prophesizes for America. Thus far, there are indications that Beck is shrewdly peddling off fool's gold; the appeal of which he enhances by way of fear generated through his radio and television shows and direfully evangelical events like his Restoring Honor rally.

"Here's the deal," Beck explained in his Goldline pitch, "Call Goldline, study it out, pray on it. If it's the right thing for you, then do it. But please study it out. Find the people that you trust. The people I trust are the people at Goldline."

Rep. Anthony Weiner, (D-NY) sees it a bit differently. Weiner has charged that Goldline is "a gold peddler posing as an investment advisor" to sell "grossly" overcharged coins, and asserted that Beck and others including former Republican Presidential candidate Fred Thompson, have utilized their shows to exploit "the public's fears of inflation and socialist takeovers while actively promoting the purchase of gold coins as insurance against this purported government overreach."

According to Rep. Weiner: "(The company) employs several conservative pundits to act as shills " By drumming up fears during financially uncertain times (they) are able to drive a false narrative."

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On its face, the concept of investing in gold coins -- even those priced within reason -- as a hedge against financial ruin or as protection against any government confiscation of wealth and/or assets seems fraught with pitfalls and ambiguity that Beck and company fail to fully disclose as they push their sales. It is reasonable to assume for example, that Beck is aware that while gold coins may be a popular investment tool, most savvy investors understand that gold coins can cost far more than the value of their gold content. In fact, there are those who feel that a prudent investor would be better off pouring his or her cash into a company like Microsoft; since the entirety of the world's present gold stocks are valued at half of Microsoft's present worth.

In addition, gold coins offer no protection against any potential government appropriation of wealth -- something to which Beck constantly alludes -- due to an implied exemption from current federal laws related to the confiscation of gold bullion in times of crisis. According to the Arizona-based CMI Gold and Silver Inc., a dealer of precious metals, there are "no federal laws or Treasury Department regulations" supporting claims being made that gold coins are exempt from such federal confiscation.

Said Rep. Weiner, who this past May released a report of its Goldline investigation: "Glenn Beck has dedicated entire segments of his program to explaining why the U.S. money supply is destined for hyperinflation. He will often promote the purchase of gold as the only safe investment alternative for consumers who want to safeguard their livelihoods. When the show cuts to a commercial break, viewers are treated to an advertisement from Goldline."

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Weiner is considering legislation to force Goldline to "disclose its dishonest business practices" which he charged come in the form of "astronomical markups and deceitful promises of profitability."

Among some of the findings detailed in Rep. Weiner's report include:

  • The average Goldline markup was found to be 90 percent above the melt value of their coins.
  • Due to the high markup, the price of gold would need to double in order for buyers to simply break even on their "investment."
  • Sales persons for Goldline, who are not licensed investment advisors, mislead customers into believing otherwise via the manner in which they provide "investment advice."

"Goldline rips off consumers, uses misleading and possibly illegal sales tactics, and deliberately manipulates public fears of an impending government takeover," Rep. Weiner charged. "This is a trifecta of terrible business practices."

Few of his detractors would doubt that Beck's willingness to instill fear among Americans as a means of drumming up business for a company, particularly a company such as Goldline in which he stands to gain financially, is not just patently unethical, but also represents the kind of quid-pro-quo influence-peddling that when indulged by liberal politicians (as has been alleged for example, of California Rep. Maxine Waters) plunges Beck and other conservatives into full hypocrisy mode.

"He's no better than the very politicians that he claims to be against," asserted Dylan Ratigan, who hosts "The Dylan Ratigan Show," a financial program broadcast on MSNBC. "If you want to buy gold because you're concerned about paper currency, which is very reasonable, I suggest you buy gold," Ratigan advised in an article published by Raw Story. "Just don't do it with the extra subsidy that Goldline is delivering to Glenn Beck for his fear-mongering which is 90 percent more than you could buy the same exact gold (for) if you just went to the financial markets."

But be that as it may, at this point these types of harsh complaints have done little to diminish Beck's appeal among his followers. He's been able to fend off the charges of unethical behavior surrounding his Goldline pitches, in part by casting himself as victim of a vast liberal smear campaign.

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"This is incredible," insisted Beck this past May in a response to Rep. Weiner's Goldline investigation. "This is just another arm of the administration trying to shut me down. You want to talk about the McCarthy era! Look at what this country is becoming."

The Shining

In Beck's case, "this country" has become an unending source of ideological supplicants all too willing to buy into his phony, self-serving charade of divinely urgent patriotic endeavors that all too often seem to come with thick financial strings attached. A recent display of what some might view as the compulsion of a sanctimonious opportunist; the self-serving guile of a colossal hypocrite, or both, has been Beck's milking of the lucrative cash cow of misguided American patriotism generated by the 9/11 experience. Yep, it's that time of year again -- 9/11 season --the time of year when the words of P.T. Barnum deliver an added incentive to efforts at securing a share of Osama bin Laden's annual early Christmas gift to fear mongers. This year, Beck enhanced the shine of his part in that effort through a hook-up with the nation's top female conservative demagogue.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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