Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for June 25th, 2007

It’s Not Going to Work

Posted by Mike on June 25, 2007

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and in today’s political climate there is no brighter light than the conservative blogosphere. With Republican politicians torn between support from their base and contributions from Wall Street Journal types, some may try to vote for cloture and against final passage on the amnesty bill. The reasoning goes that they can claim to have opposed the bill when campaigning for re-election while guaranteeing that the bill passes over their “opposition,” thereby keeping their donors happy.

However, this strategy will not work. Too many conservative media outlets have made it well-known that a vote for cloture is a vote for amnesty. National Review’s warning is just one of many.

The fate of the bipartisan immigration deal now rests with a handful of senators who say that they are against it, but are inclined to vote to let the Senate take it up again. Do not be fooled. Any senator who votes to bring this legislation back to the Senate floor tomorrow is supporting it, and any contrary vote he casts later will be a scam designed to fool gullible voters.

Except the gullible voters have computers now. Voting for cloture is political suicide. The question is, do the Republicans know that? Over the last few years, we have seen plenty of evidence that they are not aware of what thoughts lie outside thebeltway. I guess we’ll know soon enough.

UPDATE:  Hot Air is counting votes.

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Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

Speech Restriction Aborted

Posted by Mike on June 25, 2007

Dog bit man at the Supreme Court today when the Court actually applied the First Amendment, holding that restrictions preventing a pro-life group from running issue ads prior to an election are unconstitutional, even if the ad in question references a candidate. The ruling was obviously 5-4, with the five justices who have actually read the Constitution applying the document’s First Amendment while the other four were lost somewhere in the shadow of a penumbra. Thanks to the arrival of Justice Alito, it now looks like the Constitution is making a comeback.

There was a division in the majority that deserves mention however because it highlights how Justices can have good faith disagreements while honestly applying the Constitution in cases where important values of Constitutional interpretation clash. In striking down the restriction in question, Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy all voted to overturn the provision of McCain-Feingold barring ads prior to an election. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito however, limited their holding to the statute as applied to this particular type of case. Although these different approaches did not affect the case’s holding, both advanced principles necessary to Constitutional governance.

In today’s ruling, Justices Thomas, Scalia, and Kennedy upheld the principle that the courts cannot apply statutes contrary to the U.S. Constitution. The statute in question, McCain-Feingold, prohibits issue and political advertisements prior to an election despite the clear Constitutional requirement that

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, . . . (emphasis added)

The provision in question directly violated the Constitution because it was passed by Congress (McCain-Feingold) and abridged the right to freedom of speech by restricting said speech during campaign season. By straightforwardly applying the Constitution as written, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy ensured that the document will continue to have meaning. Since the Constitution is the document which protects our God-given liberties, ensuring its meaning is a good thing.

Another important principle in Constitutional law is that the court must limit itself to the case or controversy before it. For decades now, liberal judicial activists have used their power to issue rulings that greatly exceeded the scope of the cases before them. Since they couldn’t advance their socialist agenda via the ballot box, this was the next best thing. Unfortunately for our nation, the Constitution grew more and more meaningless with every ruling.

Today, Roberts and Alito signaled their intent to reverse this activism by limiting their ruling today to striking down the restriction as applied. If the Court maintains this new commitment to restraint, it will be far more difficult to use the court as another policy-making branch and there will be fewer invented rights, which upon closer inspection are often not rights at all. Just ask the unborn.

Although both wings of the Constitutionalist majority restored two important principles today, the Scalia-Thomas-Kennedy approach was more appropriate. The restriction in question only came about because of an unconstitutional statutory provision. It was that provision that those who would abridge free speech (John McCain) rely upon. Striking down that provision entirely would have been appropriate because it would have advanced both the principle that the Constitution is supreme and that the court must limit itself to cases and controversies before it.

I know this seems like hair splitting, but the distinction between the good-faith approaches is important. President Bush did his country a tremendous service by nominating John Roberts and Samuel Alito. It is clear that both are committed to supporting the Constitution. However, their approach to doing so thus far tell me that neither Roberts nor Alito are in the same league as Scalia and Thomas. Thankfully though, they are not in the same universe as Breyer, Souter, Stevens and Ruth Biddy. In the end, that is what is really important.

Posted in Judicial Watch | 2 Comments »

The “Un” Fairness Doctrine

Posted by Ryan on June 25, 2007

Rush Limbaugh is back from a week of playing golf and my summer vacation just started.  Both of us converged on the first hour on his talk-radio show today when Rush took a swipe at DiFi’s (Senator Diane Feistein, socialist, CA) attempt to bring back the “Fariness Doctrine” to the media… but only to the radio.  She all but said she’d spearhead the effort on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace yesterday, when she was on with the useless Trent Lott (Senator, spinless wimp, MS). 

WALLACE: So would you revive the fairness doctrine?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I’m looking at it, as a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.

WALLACE: But the argument would be it’s the marketplace, and if liberals want to put on their own talk radio, they can put it on. At this point, they don’t seem to be able to find much of a market.

FEINSTEIN: Well, apparently, there have been problems. It is growing. But I do believe in fairness. I remember when there was a fairness doctrine, and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.

Of course, the power of talk-radio and the unpopularity of the immigration bill are reasons why DiFi and other Dems want to silence the speech of those that oppose them.

For those of you who don’t know, the “fairness doctrine” was established in 1934, but clarified by the FCC back in 1949 to “afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance.”  In 1987, after a few decades of Supreme Court brutalizing it for obvious reasons, the FCC dropped the “fairness doctrine” because it simply silences and/or regulates speech in a patently anti-First Amendment way and according to studies actually depresses talk about controversial issues since it may mean government dictated competition or a pressured loss of license.  It is about as anti-free speech and anti-competition as you can get. 

So, DiFi, Barbara Boxer (Senator, wacko, CA) and She Who Must Not Be Named have been mulling this over since the Republican surge after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and how talk-radio is about the only place one can hear the other side of the Iraq War.  Politically squashing the freedom of speech for political purposes is pretty twisted and I hope people are paying attention to this.  The Left tried, with “Air America”, and they lost in the arena of ideas and the free market.  Now we have to use government power to mute our speech for openly political purposes?  Of course, the renewed “fariness doctrine” is only targeted at ruining talk-radio and not the newspapers, the Internet, the three big broadcast stations, and cable news–in other words, the media dominated by like-minded Libs. 

Posted in Media Bias, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Putin or Pravda

Posted by Ryan on June 25, 2007

Vladimir Putin is trying to whitewash Soviet History in a way reminiscent of the old Soviet propaganda newspaper, Pravda, which used clever language and bold-faced lies to advance the Bolshevik’s totalitarian agenda.  As an historian, this kind of thing really bugs me and is often a harbinger of reactionary and revisionist politics, which Putin is steeped in lately.

Among the things Putin blabs about is how “bleak” American History looks when compared to the old Soviet Union!  I laughed out loud!  Twice!!  The article notes, though, that he passively mentions Stalin and that Russia’s past is not perfect.  That was nice of him.  Yes, America is the only country (to date) who had nuked civilians (by the way Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both chosen because they were industrial sites).  Yes, we dropped more TNT on Vietnam than in World War II.  Yes, we also dropped tons of chemicals to defoilate those Southeast Asian jungles too.  And I’ll even add America’s violent, genocidal history against the Amerindians led to the deaths of countless thousands over the course of 250 years. 

But to equivocate the murder of 20-30 million internal political dissodents, innocents, and peasants though enciting famine and filling gulags for one’s own twisted ideology, all while actively trying to export this horrid ideology at the expense of human rights and the will of the people with anything America’s ever done is revisionist at best and ridiculous at its heart.  I believe it was Stalin (not George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Ronald Reagan or even Dubya) that gave us the infamous quote: “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” I, too, would be weary of such a legacy if I were President of Russia– by the way, an office that would not have existed without the United States.

Link via Drudge. Pic from Eurasia Daily Monitor.

Posted in Russia | 2 Comments »