How Herbert Hoover Launched Cardinal Nation

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The St. Louis Cardinals were the major league team farthest west and farthest south until the 1950s.  But that’s not the only reason the Redbirds built a massive flock of fans from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The St. Louis Cardinals owe big government statism and technological innovation a big thanks, in addition to geography and great teams.  The technology was radio.  The big government statist?  None other than Herbert Hoover.

This was just one of the amazing facts I put together reading Michael Patrick Leahy’s magnificent book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.  (Buy it today.)

Bill Hennessy Reading Covenant of Liberty

No, Mike didn’t devote page space to the Cardinals. Instead, he traces the ideological roots of the Tea Party—and the government-loving hatchet men who’ve been chopping at those roots since the Constitution was signed.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 cam...

Hoover used his power as cabinet secretary under Woodrow Wilson, and later Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, to grab the radio airwaves as the exclusive property of the US Government.  A champion of “associationalism” and public-private partnerships, Hoover granted mega-station power to a handful of lucky radio corporations.  These stations got 50,000 watt, clear channel licenses, allowing them to blast their signals around the continent.  And, thanks to geography, one station could broadcast around the world.

That station, KMOX in St. Louis, began broadcasting the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926. KMOX carried the Cardinals to farms, small towns, and cities throughout the Midwest and South Central states. In fact, by 1928, KMOX could be heard as far away as New Zealand, making it the first truly global radio station.The closest team to baseball fans in Missouri, Southern Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, Kentucky, and even Georgia was now available at 1120 AM.

Leahy points out the economic value of a clear channel license:

A clear channel license was, in essence, a license to print money because each clear channel station could, in the evenings, reach up to half of the geographical territory of the United States. Each station, then, could reach well over 50 million listeners, and advertisers were more than willing to pay top dollar to reach those listeners, provided of course that the programming was half way decent.

Hoover’s intention was to draw more power into the central government. In 1926,the Supreme Court struck down Hoover’s directives as Commerce Secretary. Those directives had given the government exclusive power to operate radio stations in the United States. The Navy was, for a time, America’s only radio network. It created the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) to manage its stations.

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Matt Holliday #7...

After the Supreme Court decisions, Hoover was ordered to issue radio licenses. Unwilling to surrender control to the free market, which he despised, Hoover managed to get Congress to adopt the Federal Radio Act of 1927—and Cardinal Nation was born.

One of the first things Hoover did was create a spectrum that allocated sixteen gigantic 50,000 watt stations across the country. He licensed these stations to General Electric, Westinghouse, and a few other powerful manufacturing interests.

Earlier, as Agriculture Secretary under Woodrow Wilson, Hoover was the first to win broad government control of food production and distribution. (President Obama’s Executive Order of March 16 extends the White House’s power to take over food and other industries, augmenting the damage Hoover’s statism as done.)

Hoover’s public policy legacy, according to Leahy, was, indeed, the Great Depression, but not for the laissez-faire we learned about in school.  Instead, Hoover and his Republican Congress micromanaged the U.S. economy from the moment of his inauguration in 1929. Just as the economy began healing from the stock market crash, Hoover clobbered it with high tariffs, stifling regulations, tax increases, and soaring federal debt. (Sound familiar?)

Hoover’s autocratic control of radio helped make General Electric the government-dependent, tax-free behemoth it remains today. And it continued a precedent of broken Constitutional principles that extends back to the first hours of our republic.

By moving economic decisions from people to government, and by coopting corporations, Hoover laid the foundation for the financial disaster that struck during his administration. But he also helped make my Cardinals one of the most storied franchises in baseball.

Just one example of the way progressives have used passion to steal liberty from people.  Leahy presents more.

In Covenant of Liberty, you’ll meet the first Tea Partier, John Lilburn of London, who spent years in prison in the 1640s for his insane desire to escape the arbitrary rule of other men.  You’ll learn the underhanded tactics that Alexander Hamilton employed to circumvent Congress and the states in extending the reach of the federal government.

You’ll also be introduced to Leahy’s 4-Promises theory. That theory holds that the Constitution is a covenant in which the government makes four promises in exchange for its existence, granted by the states and the people. Those four promises are:

  • to abide by a written constitution and its “plain meaning”
  • to refrain from interfering in private economic matters
  • to honor the “fiscal constitution”
  • to exercise thoughtful deliberation in Congress

Every Tea Partier knows that the fourth principle fell in 2008 and 2009, with dynamic duo of TARP and the Bailouts. And if the principle somehow survived Bush and Paulson, it certainly died with the passage of ObamaCare and Nancy Pelosi’s frightening assertion that we’ll have to pass the bill in order to know what’s in it.  “I’ll take whatever’s behind Door Number Four, Monty.”

You will gain some remarkable insights into American history, how we got where we are, and maybe even sports when you read Covenant of Liberty—the most important book about the Tea Party by a true Tea Party founder to date. It’s the best history book I’ve read in years, and you’ll be saying the same thing after you read it.

What are the Perfect Ingredients of Great Book?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Writers are always looking for the perfect topic for a book.  But there’s a problem.

What’s important to me may not be important to you. And what you to read about, I might not care about. 

That’s why great books achieve a certain universality.  They touch on the essence of life itself, of humanity itself, of existence. 

Some say that the secret to perfectly spellbinding stories is a mixture of just three elements: sex, food, and spirit.  That’s why Elizabeth Gilbert’s Love, Eat, Pray became such a phenomenal best-seller and movie.

I might claim that sex, justice, and military is the perfect American combination for a fiction story.

But I’m not here to talk about fiction.

I’m here to talk about hard, cold reality served up by one of St. Louis’s leading conservative writers.

TDIA_Cover_LR_10-8-11-204x300Are you ready for the perfect conservative book recipe?

Buy and read Bob McCarty’s Three Days in August.  Read all about the book:

U.S. Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart admitted to having a one-night stand with a 28-year-old German woman the night of Aug. 22, 2008. She did, too. Both knew sex was part of the plan when they left the discotheque near Stuttgart. Two months later, however, her story changed and the highly-decorated combat veteran found himself facing rape and kidnapping charges.

During court-martial proceedings one year later, Stewart faced an Army court-martial panel comprised of soldiers who had recently returned from a 16-month deployment with the Army attorney serving as Stewart’s lead prosecutor.

Despite a lack of both physical evidence and eyewitnesses to the alleged crimes, it took only three days for the panel to find Stewart guilty of numerous offenses — including aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible sodomy and assault and battery — and sentence him to eight years behind bars.

Incredibly, the conviction was based almost entirely on the testimony of Stewart’s accuser, a one-time mental patient who, with the backing of the German government, refused to allow her medical records to be entered as evidence.

When several witnesses came forward during a post-trial hearing to reveal startling proof that the accuser had lied several times during the trial, their words were largely ignored by the court and Stewart remained behind bars.

Today, Stewart’s fighting for a new trial so he can shed the “sexual offender” label that will stay with him the rest of his life if justice remains out of reach.

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice by Bob McCarty paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Coming in eBook and print versions.  Look for it at booksellers everywhere Oct. 19.

 

Mark the date, October 19, down on your calendar; it’s game one of the World Series, it’s the day before the next After Party at Helen Fitzgerald’s, and it’s the day Three Days in August launches. 

8 Things to Read in 2011

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week last year, I read The 5000 Year Leap.  Good book.  If you haven’t read it, do so. You might learn some interesting things. 

But don’t expect The 5000 Year Leap to change you.  Or history. It won’t. 

Now, if 70 percent of the US population read it, it might make a difference.  Or maybe not. I tend to doubt it, but that’s fodder for a different post.

When tea partiers read books like Glenn Beck’s Common Sense or The 5000 Year Leap, we’re not broadening ourselves—we’re narrowing ourselves. We’re also committing Confirmation Bias: the tendency to search for information that confirms our existing beliefs while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

In a study, psychologists were exposed to a short set of symptoms and asked to give a preliminary diagnosis.  Then, they were shown another set of symptoms for the same patients and asked to re-evaluate.  All of the psychologists stuck with their original diagnoses—only they increased their certainty of that original diagnosis. 

In other words, they believed that the additional information confirmed their original diagnoses.

The problems:

1.  The original list of symptoms were far too vague for a psychologist to confidently diagnose.

2. The second list contained information intended to contradict the original diagnosis in many cases.

Still, the trained, licensed PhDs saw in the second diagnoses only the information that confirmed their original guesses. 

When conservatives know only the information that supports their view, they tend to look like idiots when confronted with information beyond that narrow scope.  (Trust me—I’ve been the idiot.)

To avoid that embarrassing and destructive situation, learn outside of US political history.  In fact, you probably could go on a US political history diet for one year and still know more about the subject than any 100 liberals combined. 

In 2011, read some things beyond Glenn Beck’s reading list.  Here’s eight ideas to get you started:

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

Outliers: The Story of Success

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

While some of these books might touch on politics in places, they will introduce many to new ideas that are changing the world around us. 

The intention here is to broaden and build the movement, begin with ourselves.  If the idea of reading outside your comfort zone scares you, then you need to start today.