People Across the Political Spectrum Are Indebted to Rush Limbaugh

If you’re my age, you remember the pre-cable television universe of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It consisted of three networks — ABC, NBC, and CBS. You also remember that at 6:30 every evening, the vast majority of the country was seated in front of their televisions for the evening news — their principal source of information on the issues and events of the day.

The three anchors were liberals. All of the reporters were liberal. The editors and producers were liberals. The Left had a veritable monopoly on news, information, and entertainment in those days, to which I’m sure they refer as the ‘glory days.’

The late Neil Peart wrote in the song ‘Subdivisions,’ a song about growing up in the suburbs: “Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone.” For conservatives, it was the news and entertainment universe where they always felt so alone.

Rank and file conservatives watched, listened, and read the only news that was available at the time. And they all scratched their heads because some of it just didn’t sit right with them. Intuitively, they knew what was presented and how it was presented was out of sync with their views. They saw the difference in how the media treated Reagan in comparison to how it treated Carter; how it treated Kemp and Dole compared to how it treated O’Neill and Moynihan. In the silence of a three-network, no-internet no-social media world, though, they thought they were alone and maybe a little crazy.

Sure, conservatives had William Safire, the token conservative among a hundred liberal reporters and editors at the New York Times, but Joe & Mary SixPack weren’t reading the Times. There was also the intellectual giant, William F. Buckley, but he and his Firing Line show were relegated to PBS, a mom-and-pop shop in a news industry dominated by the Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Costco of ABC, NBC, and CBS.

In 1988, however, a voice began emanating from radio speakers in homes, in cars, and in workplaces across the country. He talked politics but in a very different way. This host was funny and irreverent. Most importantly, he was a conservative and he took great pleasure in not simply addressing the issues of the day from that viewpoint, but in tearing down the veil that protected liberalism from scrutiny lo those many years prior. Rush Limbaugh’s popularity grew almost overnight and he became a force in the national conversation.

Conservatives finally had a national, unifying voice. Suddenly it was ok for conservatives to come out of the shadows to which they had been relegated.

When the Left and the mainstream media finally accepted Rush’s success, they felt the threat to their fiefdom. They attacked and accused Rush of only providing one side of a story or an issue. They demanded he be balanced in his approach. To that he replied with his best, and perhaps most memorable line, “I am the balance.” No truer words had ever been spoken.

What is critical to understanding the meteoric rise and unparalleled success of Limbaugh’s show is this: Rush’s listeners didn’t tune in because they agreed with him. They tuned in because he agreed with them. That’s an important distinction. Limbaugh didn’t create “ditto heads.” They had always existed, a silent seam of gold — coast-to-coast wide and twenty million listeners deep –pressed beneath the political landscape into which Limbaugh sunk his pick axe.

When callers had the opportunity to speak to Rush, the rest of his listeners didn’t just hear Joe from Syracuse or Linda from Lubbock. They heard themselves and felt the warmth of the spontaneous camaraderie with like-minded people they knew must have existed but had been kept hidden and silent.

Limbaugh connected where Buckley failed to do so.

Buckley was deliberate and measured in his speech. He spoke in $25 words. His language was champagne, caviar, and brie and he spoke for the upper management conservatives. Rush used the straightforward ‘beer, burgers, and dogs’ language of the working class conservative. Buckley was a brilliant stuffed shirt. Limbaugh was an irreverent flamethrower. Buckley sat his opponents down and eloquently and methodically reduced their arguments to ashes. Limbaugh tossed molotov cocktails through their windows.

Predictably, his detractors are seizing on a handful of quotes from Rush’s show in an effort to discredit and smear him. They are cherry-picking a handful of statements Rush has made over the course of his three decades plus on the air. Having spent three hours per day, five days per week, fifty weeks per year for thirty-two years behind a microphone (that’s more than 24,000 hours for those of you in Rio Linda), surely it is expected for passion and pressure to get to any host and a comment or two that crossed the line slipped through. These immaculate, virgin-tongued detractors would have you believe that they themselves, nor their liberal heroes, have ever in 24,000 hours of conversation allowed a single comment to come from their mouths that they ultimately regret. We know better. We know the only difference between them and Limbaugh is the fact that their comments are forever in the untraceable ether while Rush’s have been recorded for posterity.

Radio has given way to podcasters and YouTubers. Despite the change in delivery method, though, each of these thousands of new-medium hosts, whether they be conservative, liberal, libertarian, or any political stripe along the political spectrum, can trace their freedom and opportunity to make their voices heard all the way back to a ‘harmless little fuzzball’ from Cape Girardeau, Missouri named Rush Limbaugh.

Even if you’re not online as one of these podcasters or YouTubers, you are probably one of the millions who have searched for and finally found a podcaster or YouTuber that agrees with you and speaks for you. You finally found your voice in theirs. You also found comfort in the fact that you’re not alone and you’re not crazy.

And that, my friend, is your gift from Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee, Rush Limbaugh.

STOP LEGITIMIZING ALEX JONES

Alex Jones is a psychopath.

Alex Jones is a carnival barker, a charlatan, a sick joke.

His name shouldn’t even be spoken.  Yet, here we are.

Jones, a proud purveyor of accusations without evidence, forced his way into the national spotlight by shamelessly leading the “911 Truther” movement, which based all of its ‘theories’ on debunked claims first put forth by a small band of individuals who were physically barely out of their teens but whose minds, reasoning skills, and physics experience remained well within the haunts of adolescence.

The easy and obvious debunking of those claims didn’t phase Jones.  It never does.  In the alternate reality he creates on a daily basis, the ‘government’ dutifully plays the convenient boogeyman and universal excuse for Jones when the truth blows up in his face.

Jones was preparing his conspiracy schtick while still in college, long before 9/11.  He first concocted his potion of psychosis mixed with his utter lack of shame to join those accusing the government of staging the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.  It has continued unabated since, including last year’s Charlottesville tragedy which he immediately labeled an operation contrived by the CIA.

Make no mistake.  A healthy cynicism of and an ever-vigilant and critical eye on the federal government and its power are good and necessary.  But when they are dragged down into the abyss of self-serving vitriol and the theater of the absurd that is Alex Jones and his ilk, it tarnishes that good and everything it accomplishes.

He is called a conspiracy theorist, but that is not accurate. Theorist is far too legitimate a title for someone so cretinous as Jones. His intellect does not rise to that level.  He is conspiracy theater.  He creates fiction out of misdirection and sells it as reality.  Within minutes of the carnage of the Boston Marathon bombing, Jones was already freeze-framing raw footage of the event and drawing circles of what he deemed mysterious people and things. It is troubling that so many can be led to believe there is legitimacy in the simple act of drawing a yellow circle on a grainy frame of film.

All of the above pales in comparison to Jones’ most egregious act, which in came in 2012 in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.  Jones called it a hoax.  Twenty-six people dead. Twenty-five families shredded and Alex Jones commits the ultimate act of callousness by claiming — repeatedly and to this day — that it was all an elaborate hoax.  He even went so far as to posit that the murdered children were actors.

It is disturbing that so many actually believe the twisted words that come out of his mouth.  It’s sad that so many feel disaffected enough to be taken in by his swindle.  His YouTube videos collectively boast over one billion views — that’s a ‘b’ for billion, folks.  He also uses his outlets to sell supplements and survival gear.  The estimated annual revenue from the sales of these products is between $7 and $12 million. 

There’s no doubt that Jones ends each day with a wide smile as he puts his head to his pillow, knowing that his deceit goes on one more day and the pool of his blood money grows in his bank account.

While Jones’ brand of crazy appeals to people across the political spectrum, it is concentrated far more on the right. The right needs to assume responsibility for this or risk delegitimizing itself. Jones is a boil that needs to be lanced.  The right believes in the free market and it must use that mighty invisible hand to squash this piece of human debris called Alex Jones.  He needs to be vanquished and left to the ash heap of history.  The right must stop acknowledging Jones and his verbal sewage.  Stop quoting him.  Stop sharing his videos and website links.  Stop inviting him onto shows, even if it’s to ‘add another voice.  Stop citing him altogether.

The opposite of love is not hate.  It’s indifference.  That’s how Jones will be stopped because he cannot bear to be out of the spotlight.

The market is the way and the only way this should be accomplished.  It is the market, led by those who can wield the most influence, that must mark him for what he is and destroy him.

Worse than enabling Jones to profit from his snake oil is using force and censorship to shut him down.  In the era of the Internet, that will will never be successful.  To do so would only play right into this charlatan’s hands.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what is happening.  To earn a medal from their neighbors inside their shared political echo chamber, tech titans — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al — are removing Jones’ accounts, no doubt with fists raised in the air to the delight of their own sycophants.  But those sycophants are no better than the members of the Alex Jones cult.

Banning Alex Jones — or anyone — is not the answer.  It has never been the answer and never will be. 

Yes, it is sad and maddening that he can enrich himself through deceit.  But the market must take care of that.  Banning Jones — especially someone like Jones whose followers are practically a cult — only legitimizes him.  He will now self-appoint himself as the poster boy for censorship, raising a sword to the jackbooted social media giants and quoting Braveheart as he leads his deceived warriors into battle, a battle after which he will undoubtedly enjoy even greater spoils.

Yet, that is exactly what they’ve foolishly done.

Instead of the tech giants banning Alex Jones, perhaps they should take a look at the fiction put forth from Michael Moore, who is just another version of Alex Jones. Moore hides behind the cloak of film-making, as if it’s more sophisticated and legitimate than talk radio, thereby shielding it from scrutiny and scorn.  His ‘documentaries’ are riddled with the same baseless garbage and conspiracy voodoo that Jones peddles.  They should even take a look at Hollywood and its fork-tongued soldiers of fortune for the years of garbage and lies it has spewed without the threat of correction or censorship.

If they still have time after examining the baseless conspiracy theories put forth by Moore and Hollywood, perhaps they could turn their attention to college campuses across the country where only a certain political viewpoint is allowed.  Come to think of it, they’re probably using the strangulation of thought on today’s college campuses as a guide.

If the left wants to start down the dark road of censorship, banning content, and trampling over the first amendment, it should keep in mind that should a block of well-heeled conservatives decide to join forces to buy majority positions in the publicly traded social media companies, the crime of censorship will find its victims among those whom the left holds dear. 

Alex Jones may be the worst of offenders, but his insidious buffoonery is present under more names than just his own.  Censor one and you must censor them all.

The weight of Jones’ absurdity would have eventually led to his demise.  Censoring him and banning his content have handed him a victory and significantly prolonged the time between now and that glorious day.

The Enlightened Feminist OR You Mean Men Aren’t the Worst Thing to Happen to Society?

BOOK REVIEW –  Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism  by Camille Paglia

Having been born in 1963, my life has closely paralleled the second wave of feminism along with its daughter, today’s third wave.

Throughout its five decades, the second wave of feminism achieved its goals of opening up opportunities to women in society and in the workplace.  It did so admirably in its early days but something happened along the way.  Since then, it has forged ahead in a monolithic and increasingly hostile and exclusive manner.  In contrast to its early years when women fought to let it be known that they deserve an equal shot at economic success to go along with the rights the first wave had won in the early 1900’s, the movement became more about what’s wrong with men.

The popular brand of feminism — the one that drew the attention and the ears of Washington DC — made a wrong turn.  In its quest for more power, it made its demands not by extolling the virtues and value of women as much as it became a tearing down of men and all things male. I watched as popular culture, shaped greatly by Hollywood, went from “Father Knows Best” to fathers know nothing.\

My shell-shocked brothers and I were suddenly the sole reason for all things that were wrong in the world.  And everything was wrong.  We’ve endured the public floggings, both overt and subtle, while doubting everything about ourselves along the way.  It left us wondering, “We’re busting our butts for this?”  At some point, it became less about equality and more about power.  The movement became its own stumbling block.

Imagine how refreshing it would be to read a work by a feminist that is not only free of the mindless denigration of all things male but one that proclaims an actual appreciation for men and their history of accomplishments for the greater good and for women specifically.

Enter Camille Paglia (PAH-lia).  Actually, that is not completely accurate.  Paglia was there at the beginning, a vociferous champion of equal opportunity for women in all areas of life before the feminist movement was co-opted by the Gloria Steinem cabal of man-hating flamethrowers.

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only come to know Paglia’s work in the last several years through her columns on Salon.com.  That is also testimony to feminism’s internal struggles and her exile from the feminist movement for speaking truth to power.

The first two chapters of Free Women Free Men are an anthropologist’s wet dream.  Paglia leaves no room for doubt in the reader’s mind that she is an intellectual powerhouse who has clearly earned her many impressive credentials.  Keep a dictionary and thesaurus close by as she guides you through history, ancient cultures, and their relevance to modern feminism.

Those chapters serve as the foundation for the rest of the book, which is a collection of selected essays, lectures, and interviews.  At the core of Paglia’s brand of feminism is a railing against anti-science womens/gender studies which ignore basic biology and are offered by a university system that she describes as ‘an absolute wreck.’  Another common thread running through each of them is the radical thought that men aren’t to blame for everything wrong with the world and society and that biology and sexuality play the primary role in differentiating the genders.  To label those as radical seems odd, but in the upside-down world of political correctness, the truth and statements of the obvious become revolutionary.

As for her writing style, reading Paglia is akin to watching a world champion fencer — quick, elegant and deadly.  Her parry to an opponent’s attacks and misguided vitriol are brutal and are followed by the swift riposting of a counter-point before laying to waste said opponent with a deadly lunge and thrust. The cadence and structure are crisp and straightforward as she drives home superbly-researched and winning points.  She deftly lays to waste not only her opponents and their arguments, she also slays current wave feminism’s sacred cows — from Title IX, to Rosseau-based gender-fluidity, to safe spaces and the general infantilizing of women that comes with them.

While there are disagreements with the author one will find on many topics along the way, Paglia is someone with whom you can walk alongside in the preservation of the political, economic, and social gains that women have won without the obligation to hurl self-loathing insults at men or the mythical patriarchy.  She is an intellectual companion to all and, unlike her feminist counterparts, consciously shows respect for those with whom she disagrees.  She is an atheist with profound respect for people of faith; an abortion-rights advocate who is authentic enough to admit flaws its reasoning and refuses to denigrate those in the pro-life camp.  Paglia seems to save her harshest criticisms for her fellow feminists and liberals.

Despite the camaraderie one might enjoy with Paglia in stating the obvious about feminism, the conservative would be mistaken if he/she believes a political ally has been found in Paglia.  Make no mistake, Paglia is hard left, politically.  She was a vociferous supporter of crazy uncle Bernie Sanders and voted for Jill Stein in the general election. That’s ok, too.  Even here she demonstrates respect and deference toward her opponents.

Paglia is a true feminist, someone who genuinely believes in the abilities of all women and refuses to tear down in order to build up.  Free Women, Free Men is a book which men, particularly, will enjoy as it doesn’t ask the reader to rage against the all-too-convenient feminist boogeyman called the patriarchy in order to recognize the abilities, contributions, and needs of women.

Free Women, Free Men, like Paglia’s breakthrough book, Sexual Personae, is a tome that deserves a space in the great works of modern feminism.

 

Get Free Women, Free Men HERE

 

Money for Education? It’s Been There All Along

The projected budget for the federal Department of Education for fiscal year 2017-18 includes $2.1 BILLION just for salaries and expenses for its 4,500 employees, all of whom are related to a Senator or Representative or somehow connected to a campaign donor or other such DC power broker.

Two billion, one hundred million dollars just for salaries for people to run an organization that adds zero value to education. Think about that the next time someone cries about a school not having enough textbooks or computers or whatever is lacking. If we shut down the department of education and distributed that $2.1 billion in salaries and expenses among the fifty states, each state would receive more than $46,000,000.. Do you think that might buy a few textbooks and computers?

Let’s not stop there, though. Let’s think deeper. Who benefits the most from the youth market? To what and whom do kids give their and their parents’ money? Let’s start with Apple, Inc, which currently sits on over $100 BILLION in cash and liquid securities, much of which was brought to them by teens, tweens, and college students buying iPhones, iPads, iMacs, and downloading music from iTunes. It doesn’t stop there. How many schools and colleges have purchased dozens or even hundreds of computers from Apple? Perhaps Apple can help fund education.

That same market segment has purchased billions in overpriced sneakers and athletic wear from Nike, making founder Phil Knight a multi-billionaire — $28 billion in net worth to be exact. Bill Gates has done well from kids buying X-Boxes, pc’s, MS Office suites, etc. He’s been at it long enough to sit on $84 billion in net worth. Perhaps these two can give back to the kids that have given them so much.

You’re reading this on Facebook, which has swollen Mark Zuckerberg’s balance sheet to a net positive figure of $54 Billion — all from just getting kids to like and share each other’s memes. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is a prime example of someone who has profited handsomely from the youth market. How many college textbooks and millions of other items purchased by kids and young adults are included in Bezos’ $73 billion of net worth?

Who has profited more from children who need those textbooks than the Disney Corporation? Perhaps that company can stick a crowbar into its $91Billion of net worth to give back to the market that has made it — and will continue to make it — an entertainment powerhouse. While we’re at it, perhaps George Lucas will allow the force to be with him enough to move him to part with a bit of his $5.3 billion to help those computer-less schools, the students of which purchased billions in all Star Wars movies and gear.

Let’s not forget the rest of that entertainment industry, which benefits mostly from kids. There is Kim Kardashian, who became a household name because of porn and whose sole talent is converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. With her equally talentless and classless husband, Kanye West, there lies a net worth of $212 million. Clearly, all of that came from the undeveloped minds of youth. There’s Jay-Z and Beyonce, too, who pilfered the pockets of kids with no taste and amassed a fortune of $875 million along the way, as well as the embarrassing wishing-to-be-forever-young Madonna who sits on $560 million that could buy a textbook or two for the kids she has punished with her music. Perhaps they’re not interested in helping to educate kids, since their minds may develop enough sense and taste to realize they’d been listening to garbage all those years. Sir Paul and Sir Elton? $1.1 Billion between the two, although in recent decades it has come from the middle aged and older market. Still, their careers were built on kids.

Finally, who more than any of the above directly benefit from educating kids? Colleges and universities. This group will financially rape and plunder kids and their parents for roughly $100,000 per student. But, surely, colleges and universities are just poor-as-church-mice non-profits who barely scrape by, aren’t they? Hardly. Every college and university has an endowment. The top ones are counted in the billions. In fact, if we added together the endowments of just the top ten universities, the total would be $169 BILLION. That’s just the cash being hoarded by the top ten colleges. There are 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. As the cherry-on-the-sundae to this mis-allocation of funds, that $169 billion grows every year based on investment returns, which, if estimated at a conservative growth rate of 3%, would mean that a little over $5 Billion is being added annually.

The answer from Washington DC is the same as it has always been: we aren’t taxing enough. To the politicians, it’s not enough that Joe & Mary Sixpack and Biff & Buffy Chardonnay are buying the iPhones and X-boxes, and taking the kids to the Disney movies and paying for all those bad music downloads to line the pockets and build up someone’s balance sheet. These great unwashed need to pay more in taxes, as well. And if Harold & Martha Denture lose the home they’ve lived in for fifty years because they can’t afford the ever-increasing property taxes extracted from them to fund ‘education,’ then so be it.

We have neither a budget crisis nor a funding crisis in this country. We have a society-wide mis-allocation of funds and assets fueled by a refusal to accept the responsibilities that accompany the benefits of capitalism. And it has nothing to do with taxes. It’s time to stop playing the political game — which is nothing but a hamster wheel — and start applying social pressure on those companies and individuals who have benefited the most directly from the people who need the most. The kids have been and always will be there for them. It’s time for them to be there for the kids.