This morning’s post on John McCain and his dismissal of the First Amendment as a priority for US citizens lead me to think about his so-far-successful attempt to curtail the speech freedoms of we common Americans. McCain vigorously defends the BCRA, the so-called “McCain-Feingold Act,” using the chant-sounding mantra “money isn’t speech.” The comment is attributed to Supreme Court Justice Stevens in a case upholding a campaign contribution law in Missouri.
I submit to you all that this is a correct statement. It is also completely beside the point. The first time anyone actually rose to challenge the notion that money isn’t speech, they stepped up to defend a straw man argument and doomed themselves to a loss on the matter. Money is not speech. Money is property, exactly as Justice Stephens said. And therein lies the reason that the BCRA should have been held unConstitutional by the Supreme Court and why McCain and Feingold and anyone else defending this aspect of the law are full of crap.
Take a $10 bill and lay it on the table by itself. Allow 10 people to come in and ask them what message that $10 bill is conveying. You’ll likely get 10 different answers, none of which will involve a specific political position. Allow the 10 people to watch you pick that $10 up, walk over to one of several people wearing political party designations and hand it over, and you’ll get a very different result. The act of your handing that money over to a specific party or candidate conveys a very specific message of support for that party or candidate. They might still ascribe specific political stances to you that maybe you don’t hold, but your general support of that party or that candidate will be correctly interpreted by your contribution to that party’s or candidate’s treasury.
Money is never speech. It’s what you do with that money that can constitute the speech and it is the act of the campaign contribution that is the political speech McCain-Feingold has placed the limitation upon. The argument that “money isn’t speech” is a red herring wrapped around a fishhook the size of the USS Missouri and the Supreme Court swallowed right up to the sinker.
The BCRA went further with that in denying American Citizens the ability to get their message heard. The limitation on speech that kick in as we get closer to an election are designed to do nothing more than ensure incumbents have a huge advantage in keeping their jobs. It is the support of a message – the addition of one’s voice to many others in speaking out in unison on an issue or a candidate, in support of or in opposition to – that is the point of donating money. The money allows the purchase of air time necessary to convey a political message to as wide an audience as the candidate has access to and the donation of that money is the message, not the funds themselves.
If McCain actually believes that the “money isn’t speech” commentary is the heart of the argument, then he’s woefully incompetent at framing an issue for debate. This isn’t the man we need running for the Presidency under the banner of the GOP. Frankly, he’s not the man we need deciding on legislation for the rest of us but that, unfortunately, is Arizona’s problem. The best those of us who don’t live in that State can do is highlight the huge errors in logic and reasoning the man’s engaged in and hope those who do live there can hear the message.
This has already gotten some play around the blogosphere, but I feel the need to comment upon it here. Have a look at the quote from McCain’s appearance on the Imus Show (thanks to Mark Tapscott for the link). This is Senator McCain – a man who’s sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States – speaking about the First Amendment:
“He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform….I know that money corrupts….I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government.”
Exactly backwards, Senator. Governments may become corrupt for a variety of reasons, including over money. They stay that way when the”quote First Amendment rights” are held as a secondary concern. As a Senator – and even more so as a President – it is of paramount importance to defend the restrictions on government found in the Constitution. The First Amendment is the first for a good reason. The Framers knew that any other right they mentioned from that point on was meaningless without the right to speak out without fear that the government could jail you for it.
The fact that the Senator does not get that – and that fact is enough by itself – makes it clear that he is unfit to be the leader of this country. Just in case anyone was still thinking that the “maverick” Republican still had a ghost of a chance of getting the nomination.
Ever since old Baghdad Bob started spouting off his transparent lies in an attempt to downplay the crushing defeat US & Coalition forces were dealing the Iraqi military we have all become accustomed to statements by our enemies to the effect that they’re beating us like a drum. The recent release of an Internet video from Al Qaeda in Iraq’s Al-Zawahiri contains this kind of spewage. Have a look:
Al Qaeda’s No. 2 said the terror network’s branch in Iraq had “broken the back” of the U.S. military with hundreds of homicide bombings, in a video posted Saturday that was the latest in a string of new messages by al Qaeda’s leaders.
He said that U.S. and British forces in Iraq had bogged down in Iraq and “have achieved nothing but loss, disaster and misfortune.”
Al Qaeda in Iraq “alone has carried out 800 martyrdom operations (homicide attacks) in 3 years, besides the sacrifices of the other mujahedeen, and this is what has broken the back of American in Iraq,” al-Zawahiri said.
It should go without saying that Al Qaeda is never going to openly say that they’re doing anything but achieving glorious victory. What should be noted is the deference that opinion gets from the MSM. This AP story carries the message of this video with exactly 1 sentence of rebuttal from US forces and that’s from an unnamed source. They carry the quotes I provided above and a few others in the linked story but they let stand univestigated or answered the allegation that the US and British military’s backs are broken. Those of us who understand the MSM is doing an incredibly poor job in actually covering the war on terror as it’s happening know better. The people who don’t blog or read blogs only know what the MSM tells them.
And, today, the MSM is telling them that a highly-placed terrorist leader is claiming to have broken the backs of our military without a single named quote from a member of our military rebutting that statement. What are people to think about that? Would it have killed the AP to talk to someone in CentCom and to have given the basic state of our military forces in Iraq? Sure, I know our military is strong, well positioned, and in high spirits. I know that because I talk with soldiers deployed there and I read their blogs. But people like my mother and several of my more extended family don’t. The MSM is clearly falling down here when they can’t even muster the jouralistic decency to report the whole story, rather than just serve as a mouthpiece for the enemy.
Yes, it’s true. And I suppose a 2 1/2-year-old is technically a “minor.”
A tourist from Saudi Arabia traveled to California to molest a 2 1/2-year-old girl, federal and state officials said Friday.
Nabil Al Rowais, 37, was arrested at a Vallejo hotel Thursday night after he arrived for a visit he’d arranged by e-mail with a man he thought was the girl’s father, officials said.
The girl doesn’t exist and the “father” was really an undercover agent.
Al Rowais told investigators he is a practicing psychiatrist in Saudi Arabia, though he entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa issued in Canada, according to a joint statement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento, and the California Department of Justice.
The story says he faces 5 to 30 years if convicted. Personally, I’m all for bringing a little of this guy’s home to America, just for him. Let’s have a public beheading for this one.
Sorry if that’s shocking, folks. Very, very little brings my blood to an instant boil faster than this kind of child abuse.
At first I was inclined to think this headline was the result of a reporter trying to drum up more outrage than his story warranted. If true, it’s hasn’t gone far enough. Literally outrageous.
Just so no one thinks this is only a problem for the southwestern states, this is a press release from our local Sheriff’s Office:
A Loudoun Sheriff’s Deputy on routine patrol near Waterford uncovered a possible human trafficking ring and now 14 people are in the custody of federal authorities.
The investigation revealed that the group, all of whom are believed to be illegal immigrants, had traveled from the U.S. border in the southwest to Virginia. Each of them is believed to have paid $1500 for the transportation. There final destination was unclear.
The possible ring was discovered by a Sheriff’s Deputy who was driving on Charles Town Pike (Route 9) around 12:15 AM Thursday. In the parking lot of the Waterford Shell the deputy observed a suspicious pick-up with Oklahoma tags. The deputy shined his light at the Ford F-Series pick-up and noticed several occupants inside. Upon further investigation 14 people were found crammed inside the truck. They included three people in the front seat, four in the extended cab area and seven in the bed of the truck. The bed of the truck was covered with a camper shell and had tinted windows.
Special Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responded to the scene and took all 14 suspects into custody. The suspects, who are believed to be illegal immigrants, included 12 males, an adult female and a juvenile female.
The investigation into the possible case of human trafficking is being handled by members of ICE. Members of the Loudoun Sheriff’s Gang Intelligence Unit and the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force assisted with the initial investigation.
I’m a bit unclear about how you arrive at the conclusion that this was a case of “human trafficking” when each of the humans involved were paying for the traffic, but that’s up to the investigators, I suppose. Virginia, Colorado, Ohio, and other states well removed from the southern border of our nation are paying the price for enforcing our border security both in terms of time and funds. At the closest approach I can eyeball, Waterford, VA is just over 1700 miles from the southern border. That’s an awfully long way to allow people whose identity and intent are unknown to travel in this country. Check out that map. There’s a lot of America between those 2 points.
Securing the perimeter of this nation is one of the explicit tasks assigned to the federal government in the Constitution. It’s not supposed to be up to the States, individually, to be the primary line of defense and that’s what’s happening here. Had it not been for a vigilant Virginia sheriff’s deputy these people would have simply dissolved into the local population or moved further on into the country. Congress needs to pass the House’s legislation and get a perimeter fence built now. We can debate what’s appropriate for the illegals who are already here to our hearts’ content but we must secure that border to make any such debate meaningful.
John Hawkins at Right Wing News has 10 Pieces of Advice for Republicans. Good reading, kids. Here's just a few:
2) America Should Always Come First: Whether we're talking about international treaties, foreign policy, or even illegal immigration, Republicans should NEVER put the interests of foreigners above those of their own countrymen. Americans should always come first.
3) Remember That There Is No Such Thing As Free Money: The money Washington spends doesn't come out of a Golden Goose or fall from the sky. To the contrary, it comes right out of the pockets of the American people and they will miss it dearly. It's money that people could otherwise spend on retirement, grocery bills, medicine or their kid's college education. That's why the government should be restrained in their spending habits, keep taxes low, and avoid running up a debt. The government isn't spending "free" money, it's spending money that people worked hard for and earned, and a lot of Republicans seem to have lost sight of that.
4) Compromise, But Don't Capitulate: Compromise is a necessity in politics, but Republicans shouldn't engage in compromises that don't significantly advance the conservative agenda. It's not about "getting things done," it's about "getting things done that are good for the country." And if the price of getting a bill passed is giving liberals almost everything they want, then that price is too high to pay.
The rest are just as good.
Hat tip: Jack Kelly at Irish Pennants.
Read all about it.
World Net Daily broke the news yesterday that a far-left student newspaper at the University of Oregon — called “The Insurgent” appropriately enough — decided to publish 12 deliberately offensive cartoons of Jesus in their March issue. Why? Because the Oregon Commentator, a conservative student newspaper at U of O, recently published the 12 Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Mohammed. The Insurgent wanted Christians to know what it felt like to have their religion insulted.
Because, really, what would Christians know about something like that?
Really. It’s not like members of our religion are routinely challenged when we try to serve in public office or as judges because our ability to actually follow the law must be impaired due to our faith. Or that our faith and Church are depicted as being just a cabal of power hungry, debased lunatics.
(Hat tip: Hot Air)
Mary Katherine Ham over at Hugh Hewitt’s has a liveblog of the debate on the Senate floor on Senator Coburn’s anti-pork amendments today. His actions intend to strip out $2.6 billion – that’s with a “B” – in earmarks. The bill in question is an emergency spending bill supposedly for military efforts and hurricane rebuilding. So how are some of these qualifying?
- Seafood promotion strategies
- Driver’s license facility in Macon, GA
- Sacramento Riverbank Protection project in CA
Check out her post for more.
(Updated to actually add the link to the blog I was talking about. Duhhhhh…)
Wendy McElroy at Fox News has an opinion column up that asks the question of whether the accused in a rape investigation shouldn’t be entitled to the same protections as the accuser:
I believe that neither party should be named until a public trial begins; at that point, the names of all parties should become public record. The demand for transparency in judicial proceedings does not reflect indifference to victims.
Quite the contrary. ‘The right to a public trial’ is one of the most basic guarantees of justice and nothing expresses concern for victims better than ensuring judicial fairness.
Moreover, maintaining the privacy of only one party to a public procedure encourages unbalanced reporting in the media, which is fair to no one.
She’s got a point, here. The obvious underlying message in this treatment is that women who accuse men of rape never lie about it. Or almost never, since we can point to a well-known case where that happened in the Tawana Brawley episode. McElroy addresses this point head-on.
In contrast, I believe false accusations are common. How common? No one knows for sure. False accusations are not tracked or routinely punished as other crimes.
Feminists often claim that 2 percent percent of all reports are false.
Another widely quoted figure comes from a study conducted by Eugene Kanin of Purdue University, who examined 109 rape complaints registered in a Midwestern city from 1978 to 1987. The police finally classified 45 of them — or approximately 41 percent — as false.
My question is this: if these statistics vary as wildly as they obviously do, and knowing what the truth is is so vital to determining the proper course of action, why isn’t there some effort being made to capture this data? Additionally, since we obviously don’t know the truth of the matter, shouldn’t we err to the side of caution and take McElroy’s advice?