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The secret of Rush Limbaugh’s success: He was real

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The secret of Rush Limbaugh's success: He was real

When conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh died, it took only seconds for the vultures of the left to swoop down and begin picking at the public corpse.

Not all on the left did so. Some were gracious. But many were filled with glee and rapture that their great enemy was gone. I won’t begin to dignify them with a response.

I prefer to mourn Limbaugh as a great American, a great conservative, a tremendously talented broadcaster who loved his country and its traditions of individual liberty. And he unapologetically made millions of dollars doing it, which fed the rage of his detractors.

Limbaugh was a man with public warts and a bombastic, albeit entertaining, manner who, on the radio, trolled his political and philosophical opponents before they controlled Twitter, infuriating them and inspiring their hatred.

But he embraced those warts. He went public with his addiction to painkillers, as portions of his audience were going through similar chaos. And he understood instinctively that big government and big liberal corporate media and their Big Tech masters are adversaries of individual liberty.

Not since the late President Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr. has there been such an important conservative voice in America. And unlike Buckley, and perhaps even more so than Reagan, Limbaugh spoke directly to the forgotten Americans. They live in what’s derisively called “flyover country,” marginalized by the Washington political establishment, both Democratic and Republican.

He knew who he was. He had a sense of humor about himself. He was a great entertainer, yes, but he knew what he believed. He was no reed in the wind. And he remembered who his audience was. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, you couldn’t walk into a factory, garage, butcher or machine shop without hearing his show. Some even had Rush listening rooms.

His audience began to grow. His program soon was syndicated, reaching more than 25 million people a week. He resurrected dying AM radio and became his own political movement. Without him, Republicans would not have taken both houses of Congress in 1994, the Republican Revolution. He made it fun to be a Republican again.

He was a kingmaker for former President Donald Trump when he told his audience that Trump “is one of us.”

Until Limbaugh came along, and later Fox News, there was no mass media outlet that reflected conservative sensibilities. Think of all the forgotten in blue states, now, with public discourse dominated by liberal viewpoints.

And now that he’s gone, I wonder: Who, if anyone, can fill that role?

Today, there are few national Republican political figures who can explain conservatism to a national audience.

The political right, busy with building a great funeral pyre, has been arguing among itself how best to proceed against the progressive Democrats’ superior position in culture — entertainment, academia, social and news media. And the left busily grinds Rush’s bones to make their bread.

Those who think about replacing Limbaugh should remember why he was a success on his radio program, three hours a day, five days a week, year after year, decade after decade, until lung cancer claimed him.

It wasn’t just talent. Or the ability to command that killer schedule. It was that he wasn’t a phony. You can’t do three solo hours of radio a day for as long as he did and be a phony. The audience has ears. It knows a phony.

Many pundits take themselves far too seriously or they mock everything and hide behind the juvenile sarcasm of the radio morning zoo host. Limbaugh didn’t. He was wise enough not to take himself all that seriously. He loved poking fun at the bombastic public personality he’d created.

“Even when I think I’m wrong, I’m right,” Limbaugh said once. “I am all-knowing.”

He had such great reach that I appreciated when he occasionally would read my columns on the air. Once he read a column in which I ripped football for concussions, predicting the game would die off like the Marlboro Man. Rush described me as a liberal sportswriter.

So, he wasn’t all-knowing.

But he was a great broadcaster. And his death leaves a gaping hole in the heart of conservative America.

Twitter: @john_kass

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Opinion

Race and gender rhetoric is the perfect cover for corporate misdeeds

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Race and gender rhetoric is the perfect cover for corporate misdeeds

Every ruling class sustains a myth to legitimate its rule. What distinguishes America’s corporate elite and its legitimating myth — wokeness and endless self-flagellation about “equity” — is a galling dishonesty married to rapacious greed.

For a stark illustration, consider the financial giant Citigroup.

In September, as protests and race riots gripped the nation, Citi published a study claiming that racism has cost the United States $16 trillion. The bank’s then-vice chairman, Raymond McGuire, contributed a pained and pious introduction.

Citigroup also announced Jane Fraser as its new CEO in September, making her the first female boss of a major Wall Street bank. Thus, as progressives applauded yet another corporate entry into the register of social justice, it went mostly unnoticed that federal regulators fined the bank $400 million the following month.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a regulatory agency within the US Treasury, said this penalty is “based on the bank’s unsafe or unsound banking practices for its long-standing failure to establish effective risk-management and data-governance programs and internal controls.” Regulators were curiously vague about the specifics. Fraser, as the financial press delicately put it, was “saddled” with a cleanup job.

From 2015 to 2019, Fraser served as chief executive of Citi’s Latin-American region. During her tenure, the bank paid $10.5 million in penalties to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The charges stem from $81 million of losses due to trader mismarking and unauthorized proprietary trading and $475 million of losses due to fraudulently-induced loans made by a Mexican subsidiary,” the SEC said in a statement on Aug. 16, 2018.

Those penalties came a month after Citigroup reached an agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to pay $335 million in restitution to credit-card customers. The bank failed to reevaluate and reduce the annual percentage rates after periodic account reviews, as required by law, for approximately 1.75 million customers.

It’s hard to avoid the impression that Citi’s race-and-gender agonies — the study on racism, the female CEO — were meant to cover misconduct for which the firm has been repeatedly fined.

Silicon Valley follows a similar template.

A leaked 2020 internal memo revealed that Facebook has a policy — dubbed a “diversity initiative” — of deliberately passing over Americans for visa workers in hiring. “When hiring for HR positions, it’s important to prioritize H-1B visa workers, and this will stimulate the process of diversification of the workplace. Although not mandatory, we recognize that the priority of H-1B applicants in favor of American applicants is for the greater good of company culture.”

Facebook denied the authenticity of the memo. But the Department of Justice announced a lawsuit against the company in December 2020, alleging Facebook intentionally and systematically broke the law by refusing to hire interested and qualified American workers. “Diversification” masks a system of ruthless labor exploitation and outsourcing.

Visa workers’ right to stay in the United States is contingent on their employment, so they are naturally less prone to complaining about working conditions. It’s also not as easy for them as it is for citizens to take legal recourse against abusive employers. A “diverse” workforce is a docile and obedient one, as Amazon also knows.

Whole Foods, Amazon’s supermarket chain, has its own “diversity” initiative. As with Facebook, it is a cynical ploy intended to disadvantage workers.

Internal documents reviewed by Business Insider show Whole Foods promotes diversification because stores with lower racial diversity have a higher likelihood of unionizing. In other words, Amazon doesn’t want workers to bargain for better pay and working conditions. And although the company is freezing donations to Republicans who challenged the certification of President Biden’s victory, in part, due to irregularities involving mail-in ballots, Amazon attempted to block voting by mail for a union election at a fulfillment center in Alabama. Mail-in voting, Amazon said, prevents supervision and “a fair election.”

America’s “woke” moment has allowed the oligarchs to apply a fresh patina of legitimacy to rotting and repulsively unjust power structures.

Pedro Gonzalez is assistant editor of American Greatness.

Twitter: @Emereticus  

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Opinion

Democrats’ new restaurant-killer in ‘relief’ bill

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Democrats’ new restaurant-killer in ‘relief’ bill

Buried in Democrats’ “relief” bill is a poison pill for restaurants and their servers already struggling thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns: an end to the tipped minimum wage.

As it works now, eateries can pay servers about $5 an hour less than the regular minimum wage, because they earn more than that in their tips. If they don’t, the boss is legally obliged to make up the difference, so it’s a no-lose provision for workers — who generally make far more than minimum as a result.

It’s only become controversial in recent years because tipping makes it near-impossible to unionize restaurants, or at least to collect much in union dues.

But servers like it that way: When Sarah Jessica Parker was hosting a gala to promote killing the tipped-minimum in New York, she had to keep the location a secret to keep hundreds of protesters away. Oh, and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network opposed the change, too, with NAN’s Rev. Kirsten John Foy noting, “It will be devastating for communities of color, where neighborhood restaurants provide good jobs to a lot of good people, and they make much more than $15 an hour typically.”

Democrats pretend ending tips, and imposing a national $15 minimum wage, will help low-end workers. In fact, it will kill a ton of jobs, especially in low-cost-of-living areas.

Above all, there’s no way this belongs in a pandemic-relief bill: This favor to a special interest is the opposite of relief.

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Opinion

Biden’s vaccine inertia and other commentary

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Biden’s vaccine inertia and other commentary

Pandemic journal: Biden’s Vaccine Inertia

Evidence suggests “vaccines really do work and that normal life is just a few hundred million shots away. How about a bit of urgency in ­administering them?” urges Oliver Wiseman at Spectator USA. “Maddeningly, the Biden administration and the public-health establishment” have no “can-do spirit” or even a plan for doubling vaccinations when approval of the Johnson & Johnson shot means we will have “3 million doses a day.” Team Biden only shows urgency about its $1.9 trillion ­relief bill, leading it “to downplay the light at the end of the tunnel” that vaccines provide. Never mind that “ramping up vaccination speeds to bring the pandemic to a speedier end” is “a better way to alleviate” economic suffering. Then there is the “focus on ‘equity’ that prioritizes factors other than speed” and Biden’s “plodding logic” that it’s better to “underpromise than underdeliver.” The “inertia” is irresponsible.

From the left: Political Censors on the March

“Government ‘requests’ of speech reduction, made to companies subject to federal regulation,” Matt Taibbi notes at TK News, “make the content-moderation decisions of private firms a serious First Amendment issue.” Coming hearings aimed at pressing cable providers to drop Fox News trace the path of 2017 hearings aimed at Google and Facebook that “accelerated the ‘content-moderation’ movement that now sees those same platforms regularly act as de facto political censors.” Then, the threats included “making the tech giants more susceptible to tort claims, as well as beefing up [Federal Trade Commission] authority” over them. Meanwhile, the silencing of Parler, The Post’s pre-election Hunter Biden scoops, independent-news livestreaming and UK and US Socialist Worker Party accounts all “share the same theme: small, unelected groups of private executives making sweeping decisions about speech, cheered on by Democratic Party politicians.” This “poses a much more serious problem for society than even Fox News at its worst.”

Gov’t watchdog: A Reckoning for Public Unions

“It’s time to rethink the role of public-employee unions,” argues Philip K. Howard at USA Today. Their “intransigence has contributed to two of the most socially destructive events in the COVID-19 era”: closed schools and cops, like George Floyd’s killer, who are near-impossible to fire. ­“Rebuilding the economy” post-pandemic will be harder if governments must “abide by featherbedding and other artificial union mandates.” These unions don’t serve “the public’s best interests” — especially when, as labor leader Victor Gotbaum pointed out, their members can elect their own bosses. “The abuses of rogue police, teachers who won’t teach and other indefensible public-union controls cry out” for redress.

From the right: This Bully Harasses Nuns

President Biden’s pick for health secretary, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, is proud of his harassment of the Little Sisters of the Poor, opting to keep suing them even after the ­Supreme Court affirmed their right not to provide abortion health-insurance coverage. As Rich Lowry thunders at National Review, he “chose to pursue this litigation even though it is completely meritless; even though it would, if successful, punish nuns who simply want to carry out their calling to care for the indigent elderly.” Becerra’s “act of performative illiberalism . . . should be rejected by all people of good will who want to live in a society where nuns — living out their faith — can give succor to the vulnerable without the federal government harassing them to violate their deeply held beliefs.”

Conservative: The Gross War for Closed Schools

At a rally in Rockville, Md., to protest the county’s school reopening plan, “many teachers went overboard in stating the dangers of teaching,” reports the Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney. One ­argued, “There’s not going to be a great benefit to being in the classroom,” since safety regulations would restrict children. Another held a “We Are NOT Expendable” sign, likening in-person teaching to “The Hunger Games.” The “implicit theme was that opening schools to ­in-person teaching amid 3 percent and falling positivity, mask mandates and universal testing of students and staff was likely to lead to teacher deaths.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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