In the 1990’s right-wing talk spread to nearly every radio dial in the United States, and, day-after-day, pelted liberal-thinking citizens with scorn, and railed against use of government to help the people — even knocking long-established programs such as the minimum wage and social security.x70x71x72 Behind that barrage, a Republican majority rode into Congress, and cut regulations for financial corporations.x73 Later, under cover of the ongoing barrage — now strengthened by a new right-wing TV news network — the right-wing corporate Bush regime snuck into power, and pushed through big tax cuts for the richest citizens, and cut enforcement of regulations on big corporations.x74x75x76 So, with a free rein, big financial corporations sold trillions of dollars of shaky bonds, bets on bonds, and bonds on bets, which poisoned and slowed the world-wide economy, causing millions of people to lose their jobs.x77 During all of this, the Black Hills wind blew across Mount Rushmore and the chiseled faces of four past leaders who warned about such events.
George Washington warned against internal enemies who would try to separate one group of citizens from another, and the people from their government:
The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, … is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But … it is easy to foresee, that … much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed …x85
Thomas Jefferson foresaw fraudulent banking:
[L]iable as [a bank’s] cash would be to be pilfered and robbed, and its paper to be fraudulently re-issued, or issued without deposit, it would require skilful and strict regulation.x86
Abraham Lincoln believed that government “for the people” should include protecting workers’ wages:
[I]t has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government. x87
Theodore Roosevelt warned of corporate bosses undermining government for the people:
The big trust magnates …, the big politicians of the old boss type …, stand against the people. They object to the government, to government being used primarily in the interest of the people themselves. Naturally, they will do all they can to breakdown the only real enemies that they have and the only real champions, the only real and efficient champions of popular right, and economic, social, and industrial justice.x88
Now there is liberal talk — though not nearly on every radio dial. But where it exists, it serves to beat back the right-wing barrage, and to broadcast words like those from the Rushmore wind.
Liberal Talk Radio Links
Ohio Majority Radio Listen (online only).
WCPT 820AM Chicago Listen.
WDTW 1310AM Detroit Listen.
KPOJ 620AM Portland Listen.
KTLK 1150AM Los Angeles Listen.
Democracy Now! Listen and watch. (Hard news.)
LTR Has many more liberal talk radio links.
In the latter part of the 1970s, angry Republicans and right-wing ideologues began to team up under the leadership of Nixon’s former Treasury Secretary Bill Simon, who used his control of the Olin Foundation to pull together like-minded foundations (Smith-Richardson, Scaife, etc.) to inject money into a right-wing media infrastructure and anti-journalism attack groups.
This initiative gained momentum with the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, a former actor and ad man who surrounded himself with media savvy advisers. They, in turn, began collaborating with CIA propaganda experts in devising “perception management” tactics that could be directed against the American people as well as at troublesome mainstream journalists.
To get around legal prohibitions on the CIA influencing U.S. politics, CIA Director William Casey transferred Walter Raymond Jr., one of the CIA’s top propagandists, to Reagan’s National Security Council where Raymond headed up a government-wide task force on “public diplomacy.” [For details, see Robert Parry’s Lost History.]
The right-wing media infrastructure continued to grow with the influx of mysterious money from the likes of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean theocrat who launched the Washington Times in 1982. Later, Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch got into the act with purchases of U.S. newspapers and eventually the founding of the neoconservative Weekly Standard and right-wing Fox News.
By the late years of the Reagan-Bush-41 era, right-wing talk radio was taking off with Rush Limbaugh and other angry white men filling the AM dial with venomous attacks on liberals. When Bill Clinton managed to eke out a victory in 1992, he immediately came under sustained attack from this potent right-wing media machine.
Meanwhile, in the mainstream press, generally conservative (or neoconservative) owners began cracking down on independent-minded journalists as early as the mid-1970s. But that trend grew stronger in the 1980s when journalists found it harder and harder to challenge the propaganda and cover-ups of the Reagan administration.
As journalists with integrity were weeded out – and as the American Left largely stayed disengaged and silent – the MSM survivors came to understand that their livelihoods required them to tilt their stories right-ward. By the Clinton years, it made perfect sense to join the Right’s media in piling on regarding the trivial “Clinton scandals.”
After years of getting pounded as “liberal,” the MSM was determined to shed the liberal label by being tougher on a Democrat than on any Republican. That tilt contributed to the Republican Revolution of 1994 and eventually to Clinton’s impeachment in 1998 (though he managed to survive a Senate trial)
LIMBAUGH: The minimum wage has gotten so high that it’s paying people that are not skilled to do anything. … It’s — whatever it is, six and a quarter, seven bucks an hour, an hour, going to be there soon. … No, thank you. I don’t want to be imprisoned by minimum wage. … Here, take the minimum wage. Vote for us, we’ll raise it in a couple years, as long as the rascally Republicans don’t stand in our way. They hate you. But we love you. Now go ahead, eat your rice.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the value of the $5.15 minimum wage in real dollars was lower in 2003 than in all but three years since 1960 …
… Limbaugh claimed that “75 percent of the people earning minimum wage” are teenagers; in reality, only 32 percent are.
How many are happy with your Social Security? How many of you think it’s what you thought it was going to be? Where is that second home down in the Bahamas that Social Security and FDR was going to get for you? Where is all this plentiful retirement and security? Where is all this freedom from economic insecurity that FDR promised you with Social Security? Every time I talk to a Social Security recipient and that’s all they’ve got, they don’t have any security about anything. They’re worried to hell it’s going to be cut. (Limbaugh is mocking Social Security, but to me it sounds like an argument for boosting benefits. – QH)
73 ‘McCain Neck-Deep in K Street Sewer’ – The Paragraph 2008-08-23 Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) pushed through the “Enron loophole”, and the “Commodity Futures Modernization Act” creating “the shadow banking system”.
75 ‘Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich, Study Says’ By EDMUND L. ANDREWS, The New York Times, January 8, 2007 “Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush’s tax cuts, according to a new Congressional [Budget Office] study.”
There were two kinds of governmental failure in the past several decades: One was active financial deregulation; the other was the purposeful malignant neglect of government’s regulatory role in overseeing the markets. Regulators were defanged.
I’ll mention just two examples. The first is when Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Fed, blocked Fed Gov. Ed Gramlich’s efforts to have the chief banking regulatory arm of the country take a more active role in subprime lending. The second is the SEC‘s decision, which Obama’s new chairman, Mary Schapiro, is repealing, to require enforcement lawyers to get the OK from commissioners before moving on cases: This was an intentional roadblock to securities enforcement erected by ideologues and cronies in the Bush administration. After all, the first SEC chairman appointed by Bush was Harvey Pitt, a lawyer who had a long career defending companies from accusations by the SEC.
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