King implies Clintons should be executed

Dear Friends,

I’m not prone to cliches, but I can’t get this one off my mind: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Witness hapless US Congressman Steve King (R-Eighteenth Century), who despite public chastisement by fellow House members for his comments in support of white supremacy, was again unable to conceal his propensity to think outside the sanity box.

Last week, King posted a meme on social media showing Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who during the early years of the Cold War were executed for treason. The meme also features Bill and Hillary Clinton, noting that they are “still running free,” accompanied by “#LockHerUp.”

And why does King believe the Clintons should be locked up? He apparently buys the meme’s reference to a conspiracy theory claiming the Clintons sold uranium to the Russians, long-since debunked. How debunked? Even Fox News host Shepard Smith rejects the accusation.

The meme’s clear implication is that the Clintons deserve the same fate as the Rosenbergs — execution. In an age where the radical fringe feels emboldened to act violently against leaders and entire classes of people it disdains, King’s meme is not only politically irresponsible, it’s morally objectionable — and deeply so.

King knows he’s about to experience the election fight of his life, with three Republicans set to challenge him in the June 2020 primary. Most politicians, when threatened with electoral extinction, dive for that nebulous realm of messaging vagueness called “the center.”

Not King. He doubles down on crazy talk, like fantasizing about killing liberals in a new civil war. Like insisting that an all-white society would be superior to others. Year after year, quip after quip, the crazy talk goes on and on.

Yup. If nothing else, one has to admire King for his consistency, honesty, and chutzpah. We’ll see how those traits serve him in his upcoming election battle.

Ed Fallon

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Bill Clinton’s biggest “accomplishment”

Dear Friends,

Do you realize how embarrassingly rare it is for a progressive voice to be heard on the so-called “public” airwaves? Unless I’ve missed something (and I hope I have), the Fallon Forum is the only progressive political talk show on commercial radio anywhere in Iowa.

That’s not only sad and wrong, it’s dangerous. Our airwaves have been sold-off to a shrinking handful of corporate giants. As a result, traditional radio listeners are inundated 24-7 with a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and their ilk.

Vice President Al Gore looks on as President Clinton signs the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

It’s no wonder so many Americans have been brainwashed into buying the lie that climate change is a hoax. So yeah, this sell-off of what used to be OUR airwaves is downright dangerous.

Lest people forget, it was President Bill Clinton who signed the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, the bill that made possible this travesty of fairness. Clinton delivered many other plums to Corporate America during his presidency, including NAFTA, welfare reform, and the repeal of Glass Steagall. But the Telecommunications Act was perhaps the most far-reaching in its damage. (Note of historic interest: Joe Biden voted for all four of these bills while Bernie Sanders voted “no.”)

Which brings me to two important conclusions:

1. Support progressive talk radio. Yeah, the Fallon Forum for sure. But across the country, there are other talking heads pioneering alternatives to the Limbaugh-Hannity-Beck model of divide, lie, and further divide. There are excellent community-owned stations, too, including KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames), KICI 105.3 FM (Iowa City), and the 300+ stations affiliated with the Pacifica Network. Support us!

2. DON’T NOMINATE ANOTHER CORPORATE DEMOCRAT FOR PRESIDENT!! Ignore the “we must nominate a moderate” blather. As the late Paul Wellstone used to say, the division in America is not between left and right, it’s between top and bottom. I’m encouraged that many Democrats running for president this year understand the distinction and have track records that suggest they’ll deliver on it.

One final word about the unraveling of the public airwaves. As Michael Corcoran wrote in this Truthout story marking the 20th anniversary of the passage of The Telecommunications Act, “In 1995, before the Telecommunications Act was passed, companies were not allowed to own more than 40 radio stations. ‘Since passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clear Channel [now called iHeartMedia] has grown from 40 stations to 1,240 stations – 30 times more than congressional regulation previously allowed,’ according to a report from the Future of Music Coalition.”

Domination of the economy and our lives by an oligarchy of unaccountable corporate or government interests is a blow to liberty. Nowhere is that domination more evident than in radio. Yet like water, the human spirit constantly seeks out cracks in the oligarchy’s armor — cracks through which to carve a path toward innovation, and through innovation, a path toward freedom.

Let’s do all we can to help bring that reality to fruition.

Ed Fallon

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